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Viceregal Library. 









‘■Man is born passionate of body , but with an innate 
though secret tendency to the love of good in his 
mainspring of mind. But , God help us all / 
it is at present a sad jar of atoms.' 









i. Early Days in Bradford i 

ii. School-Days 16 

hi. The Slade and Legros 22 

iy. Paris and ‘Julian’s 5 3 6 

v. A Visit to Germany 51 

vi. A Second Year in Paris 55 

vii. Paris Influences and some Ladies. Whistler 68 

viii. Oscar Wilde 86 

ix. Paris Nights. Degas 92 

x. Conder 109 

xi. Last Days in Paris 123 

xii. Beardsley and Max 131 

xiii. Edmond de Goncourt and Verlaine 148 

xiv. Chelsea in the ’Nineties 166 

xv. The Bodley Head 179 

xvi. John Sargent 190 

xvii. New Friendships 198 

xviii. A Journey to Morocco 215 

xix. Swinburne and Theodore Watts 226 





xx. George Moore and Others 237 

xxi. The Last of Verlaine 253 

xxii . A Tiff with Whistler 2 66 

xxm. The Beerbohms and Gordon Craig 272 

xxiv. Solferino’s 279 

xxv. English Portraits 294 

xXvi. Rodin 317 

xxvi 1. Appearance and Painting 325 

xxviii . Liber Juniorum 327 

xxix. Newcomers, and Good-bye to Whistler 332 

xxx. The End of the Century 339 

Index 375 


Unless otherwise stated , the paintings and drawings 
reproduced are by the writer. 

i. D. S. MacColl, Charles Furse, Max Beerbohm, 

Wilson Steer, and Walter Sickert (1894) frontispiece 

2. Packing room at my father’s warehouse, from a 

drawing by Eric Gill in the Rutherston collection, 
Manchester facing page 7 

3. Deserted quarry near Bradford, from a painting 

in the Cartwright Hall, Bradford 10 

4. Alphonse Legros, from a lithograph 23 

5. Young women by the Thames side (1894), from 

a painting 26 

6. Caricature of M. Julian (1889), from the writer’s 

collection 39 

7. Page from a sketch book (1889), from the collec- 
tion of Mr John Rothenstein 42 

8. Charles Conder, from a drawing in the collection 

of Mr J. G. Legge 55 

9. Caricature of himself by Charles Conder, from 

the writer’s collection 58 

10. ‘Chez lui le mardi’, from a lithograph by An- 

quetin 63 

11. Caricatures of Rodin and of the writer, by 

Toulouse-Lautrec, from the writer’s collection 66 



Illustrations 12. The writer, cet. xix, from a pastel by facing page 79 

* i • 4 11 • 

continued Emile Friant, in the writer’s collection 

13. A model, and Charles Duvent (1891) 101 

14. ‘La Danseuse’, from a caricature by Puvis de 

Chavannes, in the writer’s collection 103 

15. Caricature of Whistler, from the collection of 

Mr Max Beerbohm 106 

16. Degas and Sickert, from a photograph 108 

17. Verlaine at l’Hopital Broussais (1893), from a 
pastel in the collection of Mrs William Jessop 128 

18. Walter Pater (1894), from a lithograph 145 

19. Max Beerbohm at Oxford (1893), from a litho- 
graph 146 

20. Edmond de Goncourt (1894), from a lithograph 159 

21. Paul Verlaine (1894), from a pastel drawing in 

the collection of the Hon. Harold Nicolson 163 

22. Charles Bicketts (1894), from a pastel in the col- 
lection of Mrs Robichaud 174 

23. R, B. Cunninghame Graham (1895), from a 

painting in the Castlemaine Art Gallery, New 
Zealand 181 

24. Manuscript of Beardsley’s ‘ The Three Musicians ’, 

horn the original in the writer’s possession 183 

25. John Davidson (1894), from a pastel in the Print 

Room, British Museum 186 

26. H. B. Brabazon (1895), from a sanguine drawing 

in the Print Room, British Museum 188 

27. John Sargent (1897), from a lithograph 193 

28. George Bernard Shaw (1895), from a pastel in the 

collection of the Hon. Mrs Claud Biddulph 208 


20. Frank Harris (1805), from a painting facing page 213 Illustrations 

* a 44 • * f 

in the writer’s collection continued 

30. A recollection: Oscar Wilde, Charles Conder, 

Max Beerbohm and the writer, at the Cafe Royal, 

by Max Beerbohm, from the writer’s collection 220 

31. Algernon Charles Swinburne (1895), from a 

drawing in the Municipal Gallery, Dublin 227 

32. Richard Le Gallienne at a Music Hall, and the 

gamp beside Oscar Wilde, by Max Beerbohm, 
from the writer’s collection 238 

33. George Moore (1895), from a pastel in the collec- 
tion of Mr Frank Neilson 241 

34. J. K. Huysmans (1895). The property of the 

Huysmans Society of Brussels 256 

35. Gordon Craig as Hamlet (1895), from a painting 

in the writer’s possession 276 

3 6. Vezelay Cathedral (1896), from a painting in the 

collection of Mr Richard Baring 285 

37. Cover of ‘The Saturday Review’ Supplement 

(1896) 289 

38. Robert Bridges (1897), from a drawing in the 

writer’s possession 295 

39. W. E. Henley (1897), from a lithograph 298 

40. Henry James (1897), from a lithograph 304 

41. Aubrey Beardsley at the H6tel Voltaire, Paris 

(1897), from a lithograph 307 

42. Fantin-Latour (1897), from a lithograph 318 

43. Rodin in his studio (1897), from a lithograph 320 

44. Drawing in pen and wash, by Rodin, from the 

writer’s collection 322 



45. W. B. Yeats (1898), from a lithograph facing page 335 

46. Miss Irene Vanbrugh as Rose Trelawney, from 
a painting in the collection of Mr George Spiegel- 

berg 337 

47. Miss Alice Kingsley, by Augustus J ohn, from the 

writer’s collection 343 

48. ‘The Doll’s House’ (1899), from the painting 

in the National Gallery, Millbank 346 



M y earliest memory: the house in which we lived. First memories 
I vaguely recall only two of its rooms — the drawing 
room, the least used, more clearly, on account of its pinkish 
grey carpet with a yellow pattern, and a black cabinet, ‘hand- 
painted’ with flowers and birds. Of the other, the dining 
room, I remember little, except its red-covered chairs and red 
curtains. But once out of the house, my memory grows 
stronger: there was the small front garden, with a laburnum 
tree near the gate, and to the left of the house a path leading 
to the backyard, stone-flagged, with a stone ‘ash-pit’, a small 
building for rubbish. In the next house lived some wild, 
venturous boys of whom we were rather afraid. I remember 
the ash-pits and their acrid smell, because these boys used to 
set rat-traps in them, and set on their terrier to worry the rats 
they caught. The house itself stood in a private road, but had 
gates into Manningham Lane. The houses hereabouts had 
gardens and were of unequal size; ours was the smallest of all. 

A queer kind of caste separated the families living in Spring 
Bank; we played with some children, who lived in certain 
houses, but not with others. A superior caste showed itself 
among girls in the form of very high laced boots. 

I clearly remember, too, the stories my father told me in 
bed — Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Giant saying ‘ Fee fi fo 
fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman’, and Big Claus and 
Little Claus, and the Ten Swans. A nurse called Olive, whose 
clothes always had an unpleasant, acrid odour, told me more 




Pleasures of stories, which gave me nightmares, and every evening I 
Lister Park dreaded going to bed. She used to tell us that God was 
everywhere. This was puzzling; was God in the trees in 
Lister Park, I asked? She was sure He was there too. Every 
Sunday we walked in Lister Park, myself dressed in a black 
velvet suit and a Scotch cap, my three sisters in maroon- 
coloured dresses; Sunday was strictly kept; games were for- 
bidden, and our toys remained in the cupboards. But my 
sister had a little tin kitchen which stood on a chest of drawers, 
and we saved fruit and nuts and biscuits from the midday 
meal and with these we pretended to cook various dishes, 
which we enjoyed at tea-time. I used to think the nut-shells 
too beautiful to throw away, and treasured them up, but 
never quite knew what use to make of them. 

The Park played an important part in our young lives. 
Everything in it seemed familiar but yet romantic. T here was a 
wide space of grass in the Park, where, on certain Saturday 
afternoons, red-coated volunteers drilled, first marching along 
Manningham Lane, 'with spiked helmets, headed by a major on 
a horse, whose officers wore real swords — a glorious event. 
One might know them in ordinary clothes, but on these 
occasions they were like people in church, whom it was not 
proper to recognise. Even more glorious were the circus 
processions through the streets, with wild beasts in cages, and 
ladies, splendidly arrayed, sitting high up in great gilded and 
painted cars. Sometimes, too, there came strange men with 
dancing bears, and men carrying on their persons whole 
orchestras — drum, trumpets, bells, cymbals and all, which 
they manipulated with wondrous skill. Punch and Judy 
shows were frequent, and of course German bands; for all 
of these we extracted pennies from patient, or impatient, 

Of my first Kindergarten school, kept by two Misses 
Gregory, to which I was sent when I was seven years old 
(this would be in 1879), I remember little, save knitting a 
bright woollen scarf on a rake-like frame, and that I shied at 
learning to dance. I have a talent for forgetting, and what 

I most clearly retain up to the age of ten are the unusual A Christmas 
things I have mentioned. But the most exciting, the most event 
important event was the Christmas pantomime. There were 
afternoon and evening performances, and I was allowed to go 
with my older brother and sisters in the evening, so I was 
put to bed in the afternoon, needlessly, I thought, for I was 
too excited to sleep. We were all eager to go to the panto- 
mime when the season first started, well before Christmas 
that was, but each year our parents said that the performance 
was poor at first but improved later, a reason that never 
convinced us. Other children went earlier, much envied, and 
told us the plot; while the joke-motif, which the funny man 
carried through all the scenes, was repeated for weeks at 
school without ever palling. At last the great night was come. 

We were ready dressed an hour before the time — surely the 
cab was late! But we reached the theatre well before the 
orchestra began to tune up, settled in our seats in the dress 
circle, looked round and recognised acquaintances and ex- 
amined the drop curtain, in its great gold proscenium frame, 
covered with local advertisements. At last the music began, 
and slowly the curtain went up to reveal yet another curtain, 
of glorious scarlet with huge yellow tassels. Would the music 
never finish? At last the second curtain rose, and the panto- 
mimebegan. T he first scene represented the underworld ; there 
was a crowd of small devils; then the villain, who appeared 
and vanished through a trap door and made fire and lightning 
and thunder come at his will; the lovely heroine; and the 
funny men — only I wished these last wouldn’t interrupt the 
‘London’ accent, which to our ears sounded so refined, of 
the lovely lady in tights who played the hero. At the end 
was a transformation scene, and finally, and almost best of 
all, the harlequinade. Yes, I think this was my favourite part, 
with the clown, toes in and frills out, stealing from the shops 
and fooling the passers-by, and then himself being fooled by 
the pantaloon, that bent and aged figure of fun. Then came 
the scene when clown and pantaloon, after many mishaps 
and much quarrelling, got into bed, when awful things 



Toy happened, grandfather-clocks moved about, ghosts appeared, 
Theatreland and finally the whole room rocked and tumbled, and the bed 
fell in on top of them, while through all the fun and noise 
Harlequin and Columbine danced and glided noiselessly and 
elegandy. Oh, that it ever should end ! But end it did, and 
we drove home in the ample cab, smelling of old leather, with 
a favourite cabman, red-faced, whiskered Henry Maiden. If 
we had a cab, we must always have Henry Maiden. He was 
a permanent institution, immortal as Jehu. At home cocoa 
was waiting; and for weeks afterwards we talked and acted 
all we had seen. 

Besides the real theatre, there was the toy one. I don’t 
know if this is still an habitual plaything of the modem child; 
it certainly was a constant one with me, an absorbing toy, 
with its brightly coloured proscenium, and its back-scene 
and wings representing a forest and an architectural per- 
spective, still in the early tradition. The figures were of card- 
board, mounted on wooden bases, with horizontal wires 
attached; but these figures were never the ones I needed, so 
I painted and cut out others. I discovered also the surprising 
effects to be got by holding a candle behind painted paper 
scenes. The Tay bridge disaster, whichbefell aboutmy eighth 
year, was a favourite representation; a storm at sea, the bom- 
bardment and burning of a town, were others. German re- 
latives used to send us broadsheets of Busch’s delightful 
series as they appeared; and my brother and I collected 
soldiers — we had between us an army of close on a thousand 
men, to be shot at from toy cannons. Toys were beautiful in 
those days: the Noah’s Arks, with Noah and Mrs Noah, and 
the farms with their bright green trees, fleecy sheep and 
brindled cows, shepherds, farmers, farmers’ wives, were all 
hand-carved and hand-coloured, smelling superbly of paint. 
Before the 14th of February we bought, or else painted, 
Valentines, sending atrocious ones, representing future hus- 
bands, to our nurse and the servants, and various girl friends. 
Valentine’s Day and April Fools’ Day were important festi- 
vities then, besides the 5th of November. Acting and painting, 


these are the two natural forms of expression for children, for Nurse Adkins 
all children surely. At home we all painted, sitting round the 
table, colouring pages of The Illustrated London News , pic- 
tures of the Zulu War, and later of Arabi Pasha’s revolt; and 
I can still remember a double-page drawing of Victor Hugo 
lying on his death-bed, crowned with a chaplet of leaves. 

When we acted plays, each of us wanted to be the hero who 
saves someone else’s life and then — but not before making 
a long and heart-rending valedictory speech — dies of his 
wounds. My eldest sister, who had an angelic nature, always 
gave way, willing to be the inglorious saved. There were five 
of us, four very quarrelsome, but with this sister the rest of 
us never quarrelled; she was our counsellor and peacemaker; 
we trusted her judgment implicitly, and she never deceived 
us. Much is written of the problem of evil. Children know 
that some among them are born good all through, while 
others have ugly streaks in them. Calvin’s doctrine may well 
be roughly true; happily he used it to paint his repulsive 
picture of man’s future life, and bitter though his teaching 
was, had he applied it to our span of life on earth it would 
have been more cruel still. 

Other memories: the delicious smell of new bread on 
Fridays, the household baking day. This meant, besides fresh 
bread, oven-cake, which only a Yorkshire cook can bake, for 
tea. An oven-cake is large and flat, like a big, thin muffin, 
eaten hot and buttered. My mother was a perfect housewife. 

I still remember her in a blue apron, busy about the house, 
seeing to everything, as her own mother did. Not a speck 
of dust escaped her searching eyes. She became too delicate 
later, and could do little then, but she trained cook and maid 
to her ways. When I was nine years old there came as nurse 
a young girl, fair, sweet-tempered and, like my eldest sister, 
perfectly trustworthy. After her there was no further change. 

I have met many women endowed with beautiful natures, but 
none with a more radiant character than that of Nurse Adkins ; 
indeed it is a matter of family pride that we won the lasting 
devotion and friendship of this noble Yorkshire soul. Inde- 


My parents pendent, enlightened and scrupulously honest, she came from 
Doncaster, of a family of miners. Her brother was long one 
of the most respected and influential men among Yorkshire 
miners. There is no finer stock than Yorkshire stock, to my 
belief. The natural independence of the Yorkshire character 
is shown, even under the detrimental conditions of factory 
life, by the energy and wage-earning capacity of each member 
of a family. Half a century ago, something of the relation of 
squire and villager existed between the head of the firm and 
the warehousemen in a manufacturing town. In our case 
everyone who helped in the house was, in one way or another, 
connected with my father’s warehouse. They seemed to us 
children an integral part of the family. 

My mother’s character inclined to be strict; but her deep- 
rooted, carefully trained sense of household order and eco- 
nomy was helpful to everyone under her. For her there was 
a right way and a wrong way of doing things, and she in- 
sisted, undisturbed by doubt, on things being done in the 
way she thought right. As she was with the maids, so she 
was with us children. I could not abide cold beef or rice 
pudding; what I left on my plate was sent up for tea, to be 
finished before tea proper, with its generous home-made 
preserves and cakes, might be taken. My father was milder 
and less determined ; from him we could get more conces- 
sions; but his trust in my mother’s judgment was absolute; 
her word was law, and he consulted her on everything. 
I heard not only no cross word spoken between them but 
no impatient one. As my mother was the stronger character, 
she loved to dwell on my father’s just and generous nature; 
to her he was the perfect husband. Such indeed he was; but 
in those innocent days we didn’t suspect there were any im- 
perfect husbands. My father had a large repertory of stories. 
Grimm, on whose stories he had himself been brought up in 
Germany, he knew from cover to cover; also Hans Andersen 
and the stories from Homer. He had a natural gift for t illin g 

Every morning my father went to his ‘business’; it was 



always, in Bradford, called so, never * the office’. The business My father’s 

was a big warehouse, a place, to us children, of endless warehouse 

interest. There was an engine room, in which was a great 

steam-engine, and a man who looked after it. There were 

rooms full of machines for cutting and measuring cloth, and 

other rooms piled up to the ceiling with bales; and one room 

where beautiful labels, richly ornamented with gold, were 

attached to patterns. There were trucks, on which we could 

ride, and a lift — it was called a hoist — on which bales of cloth 

were lowered to the packing room; while outside, in the 

yard, lorries drawn by great horses with harness and heavy 

collars ornamented with brass, stood waiting to take the 

packing-cases to the railway. The warehousemen were patient 

and good-natured; we adored them all: the clerks, engine- 

man, liftman and packers, and we grieved if anyone left the 

firm. Every Christmas a deputation from the warehouse 

came to the house to wish us a Merry Christmas. For good 

or for ill there were no unions in those days, and my father 

was responsible for the welfare of everyone at the warehouse. 

Most of the houses employed foreigners, chiefly Germans 
and Swiss, as travellers abroad. My father offered to employ 
certain members of his staff as foreign travellers and agents, if 
they would learn French or Spanish; in consequence, his firm 
was one of the few in Bradford which finally sent English- 
men, instead of foreigners, abroad. My father had a pas- 
sionate admiration for England, for the English character, 
and for the spirit of liberty for which, in his eyes, England 
stood. A staunch Liberal and free-trader, he admired the 
principles of Gladstone, Cobden and Bright; and he had read 
much of Carlyle, Ruskin, Darwin and Huxley. 

Being an indifferent scholar, I thoroughly disliked my 
school-days. The Bradford Grammar School was a dreary 
building, inside and out. We assembled in a hall of stained 
pitchpine, its single decoration a framed wooden tablet, on 
which were inscribed the names of holders of University 
Scholarships. To see my name among these was an honour 
I knew would never be mine. The class-rooms, with their 


School-days shabby, bare walls, ugly stained desks and hot pipes, smelt 
close and stuffy. Once a day, at eleven in the morning, we 
could buy freshly baked buns, and this, for a brief spell, 
brought a pleasant odour into the school. Yet the school had 
a great reputation for the number of University Scholarships 
_won there each year, and it attracted many boys from the 
neighbouring towns. This was an advantage, for through 
school friends I became familiar with many picturesque 
Yorkshire towns, which otherwise I might not have seen, 
such as Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Haworth, Carverley,Light- 
cliffe and Todmorden. These small manufacturing towns, 
beautifully set on hills or in valleys, had a severe and un- 
common charm all their own. Many of the old mills had 
attached to them the dwelling-houses of the owners, much 
as farms have their farm-houses attached. Often a single mill 
lay in a remote valley or on a moorside, and the building, 
being plain and dignified, took nothing from the poetry of 
the scene. I can remember many such mills near my home; 
few of them are likely to have survived the rapid extension 
of the manufacturing towns. 

In my first year I gained a prize, which I received from the 
hands of W. E. Forster, then Member for Bradford, and 
being an undersized lad, I got a round of applause. It was 
my only success — I never won another. The headmaster, 
known to generations of boys as * Old Rusty 5 , used to call 
out — ‘Stand up, Sir. You will have to earn your living with 
your hands, you will never do it with your head ! 5 Only in 
English History did I show any capacity. Happily there fame 
to the school, early in my career, an admirable master, Arthur 
Burrell. Burrell knocked a hole, as it were, in the stale, drab 
walls of the schoolroom and let in the fresh air. He was an 
excellent reader, and encouraged us to read Shakespeare and 
other poets aloud for ourselves. He asked me often to his 
room, talked of books and authors, and encouraged my love 
for reading which, since my eyes gave me trouble, was dis- 
couraged at home. My brother and I shared a bedroom on 
the attic floor, and we were expressly forbidden to read in 


bed by gas light. My father would call up as he put out the Old books 
lights on his way to bed, and at the sound of his voice we 
would spring out of bed and turn down the gas ; but often, after 
hearing him shut the door of his room, we would turn up the 
gas again. Another practice of which I was guilty was saving 
the pennies I got for the daily school bun, to spend them on 
old books. There was a second-hand bookstall in the covered 
market where noble folios and quartos could be acquired for 
a few pence. I used my bun money and most of my pocket- 
money in this way, and spent much time copying the old 
prints I acquired, and often die tide-pages too, which I thought 
beautiful. I was a voracious and undiscriminating reader, 
swallowing book after book, enjoying Harrison Ainsworth 
as much as Scott, and Talbot Baines Reed, Rider Haggard 
and Anstey as much as Dickens and Thackeray. But in youth 
nothing equals the joy of the theatre. No one, I thought, 
understood the subtlety of the actors as I did on the rare and 
rapt occasions when I went to the play. The first play, apart 
from the pantomime, which I saw was Hans the Boatman ; 
a rubbishy play, no doubt, but wonderful to me. I saw 
Edward Compton and Kate Vaughan in The School for 
Scandal, when Compton as Charles Surface seemed all that 
was handsome, generous and manly; I was told too that he 
was in real life what he appeared to be on the stage. And 
I remember Mary Anderson as Galatea, and Barry Sullivan 
as Richard III ; this must have been late in his life, for he be- 
longed to the school of ‘barn-stormers’, and was born in 
1828. I rather think he modelled himself on Hogarth’s pic- 
ture of Richard starting up from a couch, which later I saw 
at Saltaire. Then there was Hamilton’s Panorama: painted 
scenes, showing many parts of the world, which moved 
slowly and continuously across the stage. One especially I 
remember, a scene representing Rotten Row, wherein Mr 
Gladstone was seen conversing with Lord Harrington, with 
Mrs Langtry and other fashionable beauties near by. Gilbert 
and Sullivan operas came to Bradford as well, a delight to 
everyone, children and grown-ups. Above all I enjoyed the 


Gilbert and Mikado. Japan was then a remote and mysterious country; 

Sullivan the dresses and characters were novel and fantastic, and, un- 
musical though I was, so tuneful were the songs I could even 
join in singing them at home. But I couldn’t ever sing a bar 
in tune. My mother played the piano by ear, I believe quite 
brilliantly — her eyes were not good enough to read music — 
and my eldest brother and one of my sisters were musical. 
Frederick Delius, as a boy, used to play with my mother — 
his parents were friends of my parents — but this was during 
my childhood. Unfortunately, I was made to learn the violin, 
much against my inclination. My master used to say I would 
make the saints in Heaven swear ; no doubt I did. I would cut 
the strings of the fiddle half through, so that one of them was 
sure to snap in the middle of my practising. Still, I was always 
a little hurt when the family groaned at my rendering of some 
mild sonata on my parents’ birthdays. Happily I was able to 
convince them of the hopelessness of the pursuit, and I was 
allowed to give up torturing myself and others; and the lan- 
guage of the saints in Heaven became seemly again ! 

Having no taste for music, I never went to concerts ; but 
I went, whenever I could, to the lectures at the Philosophical 
Society. Here I was able to see and hear great men from 
London, men like Andrew Lang and H. M. Stanley. Nothing 
excited me more. It is difficult for a Londoner to realise how 
cut off we were from art and literature, and how eventful a 
lecture was. I was all ears at these lectures. Often, when my 
father and others in the audience would suddenly laugh, I 
would fail to know why, and feel ashamed of not having 
laughed too. 

Most of my school friends collected stamps; I had a passion 
for ‘curiosities’, and a set of book-shelves became my 
museum. My mother’s sanitary sense was disturbed by the 
old books and other objects I brought home; happily I had 
Arthur Burrell’s support, and so long as I did not keep my 
‘smelly old things’ in my bedroom, my collection grew. 

One day the local art master, to whom I confided my 
interest in old things, told me it was the sign of an artistic 


npsr.nTFn quarry near Bradford 

temperament. This remark made me glow all over, and I re- Early friends 
peated it triumphantly on my return home. It was the first 
time I had heard the cliche; I considered it a final answer to 
my mother’s disapproval. 

I had one friend who shared my tastes, Austin Meade. His 
father and his grandfather were both well-known doctors at 
Bradford, direct descendants of the famous Dr Meade, Queen 
Anne’s physician. At the Meades’ I was aware of an atmo- 
sphere of culture unusual in Bradford, and Austin had 
treasures much more varied and precious than mine : butter- 
flies, moths, old weapons and fine books. He gave me a 
Breeches Bible, and an old Georgian pistol from the Tower, 
a rare treasure in my eyes. The Binnies were then also settled 
in Bradford. Mr Binnie, afterwards Sir Alexander Binnie, 

Chief Engineer to the L.C.C., had a small private observatory 
in his garden at Heaton, with a fine large telescope, through 
which he let us gaze at the stars when the sky was clear. 

Other friends were the Fairbairns, who lived at the Pres- 
byterian College, of which their father was Principal; later 
he became Head of Mansfield College at Oxford. John, his 
son, now a distinguished physician in Harley Street, was 
senior to me at school, and Andrew, his younger brother, was 
my chosen companion. 

One of my father’s most intimate friends was our old 
doctor. Dr Bronner, the first eye and ear specialist, I believe, 
in the north of England. He was an exile from Baden, a man 
of 1848, who escaped with Karl Blind to England, settled at 
Bradford, and founded the Eye and Ear Hospital there. He 
was a German of the old school, gentle, and kind, whom as 
children we adored. He never failed, if he passed any of us 
in his carriage, to stop and take us up for a ride, a rare treat 
in those simple days when there were not, I think, more than 
half a dozen private carriages in the town. He had grey side 
whiskers, like the old Kaiser Wilhelm I, and was very pale, 
with deep-set blue eyes. There was always a faint odour 
of iodine about him. To us children he was The Doctor, 
able, directly he 'was sent for, to set everyone right. What 


More family 


confidence children have in the infallibility of men ! If we lose 
some of it with the years, we still remain children in idealising 
men in high places for the rest of our lives, Generals and 
Prime Ministers and Royal Academicians, and such. When 
the good old doctor died, it was my first experience of death. 
His funeral, attended by great numbers of people, for he was 
universally beloved, sobered and rather frightened me. I had 
never thought about death before. Then a young cousin, a slip 
of a child, a constant companion, developed diphtheria, and, 
her poor throat swelling, she too died. This brought the sur- 
prising knowledge of death still closer. The idea of death used 
to bring me nights of terror, so that I dreaded going to bed. 

A great friend of my father was Sir John Cass, to whose 
family, as to the Bronners’, we were closely attached. The 
youngest daughter was at school with my sisters; the eldest 
daughter had married Weetman Pearson, afterwards Lord 
Cowdray, while another, Gertrude (now Mrs Kinnell), had 
been to school in Brussels. She had a mind like a sword, yet 
she encouraged my childish drawing and writing. She had 
a wide knowledge of books and of pictures, was a sparkling 
talker and a shrewd and witty observer of things and of 
people. Other girl friends of the family with whom we 
were intimate were the Ahronses. If a play was to be written, 
3 ^f 0 } 0 ^ 116 com P osed > Elizabeth Ahrons and her sisters were 
called in; none so fertile in ideas for new games and adven- 
tures, none so dashing in carrying them through. As class- 
mates I had J. L. Hammond and Frank Dyson. Hammond 
as a schoolboy was already an ardent Liberal and a student 
of history; he and I were the fiery Radicals in the school 
Debating Society. I was a passionate admirer of Gladstone 
and I remember going down to Manningham station to watch 
a tram pass, without stopping, in which the great man was 
supposed to be travelling to Edinburgh! Among the older 
boys were two who coached me in classics, J. B. Firth later 
leader-writer on The Daily Telegraph, and H. Ward! with 
whom I was again to be associated at the Board of Education. 
Other Grammar School boys, all my seniors, were Woodford 


Sallitt, Arthur Colefax, A. Dufton, Charles Harris, and A link with 
A. C. R. Carter. the Brontes 

In my form were two young Wades, sons of the Vicar of 
Haworth, whom I visited sometimes at the vicarage, the old 
home of the Brontes. Haworth was hut a four mile walk 
across the fields from our home; it had changed little since 
the days when that strange, gifted, tragic family lived there. 

The vicarage, the church and churchyard, the Black Bull 
close by, and the steep grey street with the austere stone- 
roofed houses were all much as they were in the Brontes’ 
time. Even the mill girls, in their brass-tipped clogs and with 
shawls over their heads — only on Sundays did they wear hats 
and boots — had an old-world look. 

There were still old people in the village who had known 
Miss Charlotte. Of Emily and Anne I then knew nothing, 
but Jane Eyre was the local classic. There was a big, square, 

Georgian house at Guiseley, a village still nearer than 
Haworth, the house, it was said, where Jane Eyre had first 
taught as a governess. 

The relations of a town-bred Bradford lad with the country 
must have been similar to those of a London boy a century 
ago. I knew little of country life or ideas, little of the open 
drama of the year; but I was familiar with its scenes. Ten 
minutes’ walk took one into the open country. No hedges 
separated the fields, only rough stone walls. 

The pliant harebell swinging in the breeze 
On some grey rock. 

The single sheep and the one blasted tree 
And the bleak music from the old stone wall 

applied perfectly to the landscape. The farm-houses and barns 
were austere in character, stone-built and stone-roofed, with 
stone-flagged yards in front. The stone for these, and for the 
walls, came from neighbouring quarries, still worked with 
simple derricks, like the Romans used. Once enough stone 
for immediate needs was obtained, the quarries were aban- 
doned. These old quarries had a great fascination for me; 
there was a haunting stillness and a wildness about them, 


Yorkshire which stimulated my boyish sense of romance. A deserted 
monuments old quarry, not more than fifteen minutes’ walk from our 
home, was a favourite playground. It lay off a path, a 
hundred yards from a canal, among black and stunted trees ; 
there hung about it that haunted atmosphere peculiar to 
places where men have once been quick and busy, but which, 
long deserted, are slowly re-adopted by the old earth. To 
climb among the ledges of these old quarries within sight of 
the canal, with its locks and bridges and painted barges, was 
like climbing among cliffs and rocks by the sea. 

Kirkstall and Bolton Abbeys had alike fascination. I doubt 
whether I ever quite realised that once they were actual 
churches, with smooth colour-washed walls and timbered 
roofs and stalls, carved saints and painted altar-pieces, and 
beds in the monks’ cells ; still less did I see them as centres of 
busy life, with monks active in mills and bams and orchards 
and fields. T o me they were ruins, and natural features as such, 
which had never been different. I remember no reference to 
these abbeys in our history lessons at school; I only knew that, 
during the civil war, blankets were hung round the parish 
church in the town to protect it against Cromwell’s, or else 
against Charles’s cannon-balls. Again, no one told us that this 
church contained some of William Morris’s finest windows. 
It was many years later when I came to Bradford with May 
Morris and Arthur Clutton-Brock to plead for the encourage- 
ment of local talent, that I saw them in the parish church. 

Of old buildings, which appealed to me strongly as a boy, 
there was no lack around Bradford. At Bingley the stocks 
still stood in the market place, and above Bingley there stood 
a noble Tudor farm-house with big stone balls topping the 
gate-posts; there were others between Bingley and Keighley; 
but Kirkstall, then unrestored, and Bolton Abbeys, were the 
most exciting landmarks near Bradford. At Bolton Abbey 
was the famous ‘ Strid’, across the Wharfe; and when I found 
that Wordsworth had written a poem about this very spot, 
it became almost sacred in my eyes. Further afield were 
Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, beyond Skipton C ^ g flA > 


where Turner and Ward had painted ; and further off still lay The moors 
Furness Abbey. I made childish drawings of all these places, 
which my schoolfellows thought wonderful. 

In winter, when the lake in the Park was frozen, we skated, 
using wooden skates strapped to our boots. They were not 
very comfortable; but only grown-ups or much older boys 
had ‘acme* skates. There were two islands in the lake, and 
when the lake was frozen, these could be explored. There 
wasn’t much to explore ; still, islands, however small, have a 
fascination for boys. We sometimes skated on a mill-beck, so 
deep that the ice was a dark green colour; but it had a bad 
name, for more than one lad had been drowned there. Beck 
and tarn and gill, how sweet these names still sound in my ears ! 

A pond near my home was called Chellow Dene, a lovely 
name, I thought, though there were many as lovely — Mal- 
ham Cove, Gordale Scar, Ben Rhydding, Guiseley, Hawks- 
worth. I was reminded of these many years later when Mr 
Stanley Baldwin, speaking of W. H. Hudson, thanked God 
that English flowers and villages were given names before 
popular education arose. I am thankful, too, that though we 
lived in a manufacturing town, the open country was so near. 

Above Saltaire, a couple of miles from home, were the moors, 
and one could walk, I was told, as far as Scotland, without 
taking the road. In winter sometimes, when the moors lay 
under snow, no footmarks were to be seen; one walked 
through a landscape strange, white and virginal, while above 
one’s head the peewits wheeled and uttered their haunting 
cry. The low stone walls on the moors looked coal black 
against the snow, and these moorside boundary walls were 
centuries old, men said. On my way home the mill chimneys 
along the valley, rising up tall and slender out of the mist, 
would look beautiful in the light of the setting sun. When 
I first read Whistler’s Ten O’clock it at once evoked the 
Shipley Valley I knew as a child; I had not then seen the 
Thames chimneys of Battersea Reach, the chimneys which 
were in Whistler’s mind when he described them as looking 
like campaniles in the air. 




Greek play \ yf r talent for drawing was recognised at school; instead 
at school XV JL of writing so many lines for misconduct, I was made to 
draw and paint lantern slides. My Greek master, Arthur Col- 
son, the one other master beside Arthur Burrell who won my 
whole-hearted devotion, was editing one of the books of 
Thucydides, and for this I made a map which was used, after 
being redrawn, of course, by a professional draughtsman, for 
the published text-book. Colson was a true scholar, probably 
the finest who ever came to Bradford, though perhaps, from 
the point of view of discipline, an imperfect schoolmaster. 
For those who cared for Greek he spared himself no trouble; 
so far he aroused my interest in the Greek dramatists, I 
would go to the Free Library after school hours to read the 
Greek plays in translation. But I did this secretly, and in 
constant fear; thinking that were I discovered I should be 
expelled for reading cribs. It is true we were construing the 
text of Alcestis ; but it took a term to get through a single 
scene; and I wanted to read the play throughout. 

I enjoyed the comic scene in English, when Herakles, 
ignorant of what was going on in Admetus’ house, prepared 
to feast himself; and I got my first glimpse of the Greek 
spirit in the description of Alcestis preparing to die — ‘and 
then she washed her white self before the altar’; I seemed to 
see a Greek statue, warm and radiant. 

But I showed little aptitude for scholarship when I reached 
my fifteenth year, and no inclination for commerce. I was 


constantly playing -with pencils or paints, and was bent on 
becoming an artist. Punch had taken the place of The Illus- 
trated London News as a weekly inspiration. John Tenniel, 
T in ley Sambourne, Harry Furniss and Charles Keene were 
to me equally masters of drawing; I copied their drawings 
with uncritical ardour. To Harry Furniss, whose drawings 
of Mr Gladstone I particularly relished, I sent a batch of my 
own pen drawings. In returning them he wrote that I had 
wit of a certain, but drawing of a very uncertain kind; the 
latter sentiment was sound, but my ardour was unquenched. 
About the same time W. P. Frith’s Autobiography was lent 
me to read. It was just the kind of book to kindle a boy’s 
fancy for an artist’s life. Accounts of the Bushey School of 
Painting had reached Bradford — accounts likely to dazzle a 
provincial lad — a sort of Bushey-Bayreuth with acting, music 
and painting centring round the figure of the Bavarian wood- 
carver’s son, Hubert Herkomer. My father, proud enough 
of my drawings, and of the praise they won from his friends, 
hoped that I would nevertheless do as most solid merchants’ 
sons then did, and follow in his footsteps. But he was a man 
of large views. Seeing my little zeal for anything save 
drawing and reading, he probably had doubts concerning 
my fitness for business, for he finally agreed to let Herkomer 
decide whether my drawings showed sufficient promise to 
justify serious study. A collection of my drawings was sent 
to Bushey; I anxiously awaited the verdict. Within a few 
days Herkomer wrote that, in view of my youth, I should 
work for a year at a local art school, and then come to 
Bushey. Crude indeed my drawings must have been; I marvel 
that Herkomer accepted this responsibility. However, there 
was his decision. My father had promised to abide by it. 

My headmaster was informed of what was intended ; hence- 
forward I was allowed to spend a great part of my time in the 
art rooms of the school. In the chief art room a succession of 
boys practised perspective, and what was then called ‘free- 
hand’ drawing, from copies issued from South Kensington. 
The two or three hours weekly devoted to ‘art’ had until 






The art then filled me with gloom. The principles of perspective I 
room was unahle to grasp. I am unmusical, so I have always been 
unmathematical. Indeed, the only person who suspected any 
unusual talent in me was my mathematical master, who 
habitually said that anyone so stupid as myself must have 
some hidden genius of which he was unaware. 

Happily there was, besides the large art room, a small 
inner room little used, full of casts of fruit and leaves and 
floral ornament, one or two casts of Roman heads, and the 
figure of the Dancing Fawn. The art master wanted me to 
keep to cubes and triangles, shading them carefully with 
stump and charcoal ; my fancy was for black conte chalk and 
for drawing the head and figure. I was by no means a credit 
to the art master. The Science and Art Department, which 
rained green and white certificates on my elder brother, regu- 
larly withheld them from me. Notwithstanding the aloofness 
of the South Kensington authorities, the masters who wanted 
maps or lantern slides drawn and coloured selected me for 
the task, and had my caricatures of the French master been 
carried through the streets of Bradford they would, I 
verily believe, have been received with something of the 
enthusiasm shown for Cimabue’s Madonna by the citizens of 

Meanwhile my elder brother, Charles, had left school and 
was working at the Technical College, recendy opened by 
the Prince of Wales. The year 1887 was a momentous one in 
the history of the town. It was Jubilee Year, and at Sal tair e, 
two miles from our home, an exhibition was held where for 
the first time I saw some famous pictures. The p ain ri ng which 
impressed me most, indeed the only one that I remember 
clearly, was Hogarth’s portrait of Garrick as Richard III, 
starting up from his couch. This I copied in chalk; but my 
desire to sketch certain other pictures was nipped in the bud 
by the attendant : I must first get the permission of the artists. 
For this sanction I was advised to write, and I actually sent 
letters to Leighton and Alma Tadema, and received replies 
from both these eminent painters. 



Besides the picture gallery there was a Japanese village, The Manchester 
where a native painter and a potter were busily at work. With Exhibition 
both of these craftsmen I made friends, watching their skilful 
ways. I still have a Japanese book, given me by the painter, 
my first introduction to Eastern art. There was a case full of 
Japanese objects, weapons, enamels and boxes, in the local 
museum, and Japan seemed a land of mother-of-pearl and 
lacquer, and of feudal romance. 

But a greater experience was in store for me. I was in- 
vited to Manchester to spend a week with my cousins, while 
the Exhibition was on, which included the most important 
collection of pictures ever brought together in the North of 
England. I had never been to London. There was not yet an 
art gallery in Bradford, but only a small museum, containing 
some pictures, mostly (except for a few by James Charles, 

Sichel and Buxton Knight) of the kind one sees in cheap 
auction rooms. The effect of the Manchester Exhibition 
was profound. I went from room to room, bewildered at 
first by the number and variety of the paintings; but gradu- 
ally certain works emerged from the rest — by Frith, Faed, 

Fred Walker and Alma Tadema; then Burne-Jones’ Wheel 
of Fortune and his series of Pygmalion and Galatea ; and no 
doubt many others, which I now forget. Pictures, after all, 
are meant to be looked at; even the clearest recollection of a 
painting is not worth two minutes in front of it. But if I have 
forgotten most of the canvases I saw, the pictures I admired 
there were naturally not those I would now prefer. Still, I 
remember the excitement and glow of discovery. I felt as a 
Colonial might feel when he visits the home of his forbears: 
everything was new and strange, yet there was a secret sense 
of kinship ; the paintings seemed suddenly to throw light on 
a hundred things I had always known, but known hesitatingly. 

I returned home in a state of exaltation; but exaltation, I have 
noticed, not infrequently shows itself in the form of conceit 
and ill manners. School, where I rarely was happy, became 
still more distasteful, and my itch to be drawing more 



Studying It happened that there came to Bradford at this time, to 
anatomy assist in die Art Department of the newly-opened Technical 
College, a Mr Durham, who had been on the staff at the Slade 
School. He was not, I think, a very good draughtsman, but he 
upheld me in my dislike of stump and charcoal, and taught 
me to use sanguine. His special subject was anatomy — he 
had been assistant to Professor Thane, the great anatomist at 
University College, who gave lectures for many years to 
Slade students. Mr Durham held evening classes in anatomy, 
and these I attended. Living models were used in the demon- 
strations, and in this way I gained my first experience of 
drawing from the life. 

I also had the advantage of frequenting the studio of 
Ernest Sichel, the gifted son of a wealthy Bradford merchant. 
Young Sichel had lately returned to Bradford after studying 
at the Slade School for many years. He was now at work on 
a portrait of Sir Jacob Behrens, one of Bradford’s most public- 
spirited citizens ; a friend, too, of my father. Sir Jacob was 
then 86 years old, a fine looking J ew, whom Rembrandt would 
have liked to paint, I thought. I longed to paint old men; 
youth excited me much less. Sichel was a fine draughtsman 
and a sensitive painter and modeller. Shy and reticent, a man 
of uncommon modesty, he had already made a place for him- 
self in a distinguished circle in London — he was a close friend 
of William Strang and of John Swan — but he preferred to 
work quietly in his native town, though there were few to 
appreciate the sensitive sincerity of his drawings and pastels. 
I was fortunate to get thus early into touch with a true artist. 
Sichel’s father was also a man of unusual taste and judgment. 
At his house I first saw drawings by Legros, Strang and John 
Swan. He was sternly critical of my attempts, rightly deeming 
me careless and inaccurate. My brother’s still-life pain tin gs 
he rated more highly, and considered his prospects of be- 
coming a painter were more likely than mine. My brother 
thought otherwise, and chose a business career ; but through- 
out his life he was devoted to the arts, and was a discerning 
friend and patron to many artists. Sichel advised my fathe r 


to send me to the Slade School rather than to Bushey. I was Choice of a 

only too willing the plan should be changed, for the glowing school 

account of the students’ life at Herkomer’s school, which 

had turned my head, was soon forgotten when I saw Strang’s 

and Sichel’s drawings; and the hope that under Legros’ 

tuition I might some day do similar work made me long for 

the day when I might set my face towards London. 

Came the longed-for last days at school. My years at 
school, which then seemed flat and unprofitable, were pleasant 
only in retrospect. It was arranged that I should enter Uni- 
versity College at the beginning of the coming session. My 
father was to take me up to London. My excitement was 
intense. We travelled with one other person in the compart- 
ment, who soon got talking to us, a tall man with dark 
moustaches, who looked like a stage hero. He explained, 

I thought unnecessarily, that being in the army he did not 
usually travel third-class. The journey then took close on five 
hours ; it seemed endless. The seats in the third-class carriages 
were higher than they are now, and my feet did not <juite 
reach the floor. This failure to achieve the dignity of a 
‘grown-up’ person distressed me. We reached King’s Cross 
at last, and spent the first night in the Great Northern Hotel. 

For me it was a restless one; the thought that I was actually 
in the same city as Watts and Leighton (and how many 
others?) kept sleep away. 

The next morning we went to Gower Street. There we 
found a Bradford friend, Bertram Priestman, likewise with 
his father, waiting outside the Professor’s door. Charles Hol- 
royd introduced us to Legros, and we were both directed to 
the Antique room. 



Early days 
at the Slade 


T he Slade School in ray time had much the same appear- 
ance it has at present, but the atmosphere then was very 
different. At that time there were not many more than a 
hundred students, of whom the greater number were men. 
Men and women worked together in the Antique rooms only, 
but rarely met after working hours. I doubt whether the 
women were as brilliant as many of the women students are 
now; they were certainly more austere, as was the atmosphere 
of the whole school. The older students who worked in the 
Life rooms had little or nothing to do with the freshers in 
the ‘Antique’. During my time at the Slade, scarcely one of 
the older students ever spoke to me. 

We drew on Ingres paper with red or black Italian chalk, 
an unsympathetic and rather greasy material, manufactured 
no longer I think. The use of bread or indiarubber was dis- 
couraged. From morning till late afternoon, day after day, 
we toiled over casts of Greek, Roman and Renaissance heads; 
of the Discobolus and of the Dancing Fawn. However,- we 
did draw , at a time when everywhere else in England students 
were rubbing and tickling their paper with stump, chalk, 
charcoal and indiarubber. Legros himself was first and fore- 
most a great draughtsman. He was a disciple of Mantegna, 
Raphael and Rembrandt, of Ingres and Delacroix, of Poussin 
and Claude. He taught us to draw freely with the point, 
to build up our drawings by observing the broad planes of 
the model. As a rule we drew larger than sight-size, but 



Legros would insist that we studied the relations of light and Methods 

shade and half-tone, at first indicating these lightly, starting of Legros 

as though from a cloud, and gradually coaxing the solid forms 

into Being by super-imposed hatching. This was a severe and 

logical method of constructive drawing — academic in the 

true sense of the word, and none the worse for that. It was 

not Legros’ fault that the standard of drawing in England 

during his tenure of the Slade professorship was not a high 

one. William Strang was perhaps his ablest student. Charles 

Furse, another of Legros’ pupils, a very gifted painter 

whose early work showed evidence of Legros’ teaching, soon 

came under other influences. He was strongly attracted first 

to Whistler, finally to Sargent. There were no students of the 

stature of Strang and Furse working during my year. At 

heart I was disappointed ; I had expected a great stream of 

talent; I found only a thin trickle. 

Legros himself, with his grey hair and beard and severe 
aspect, appeared to us an old man, though he was then not 
much more than fifty. A Burgundian, born near Dijon, he 
had early been drawn into the more advanced group of artists 
in Paris, though he was by nature a traditionalist rather than 
an experimenter. A pupil of Lecoq de Boisbaudran, he used 
to say that one of the first tasks set him was copying Holbein’s 
portrait of Erasmus at the Louvre, going and returning until 
he had perfected his copy from memory, and that this had a 
lasting influence on his own methods of work. The training 
of the memory was an essential part of Lecoq’s teaching. But 
he also drew his students’ attention to the earlier masters like 
Giotto, Mantegna and Masaccio, at a time when their paint- 
ings were little studied, and their effect on Legros was evident. 

From Millet and from Courbet he also learned much. He was 
fortunate in that his first exhibited work attracted the notice 
of Baudelaire. Through Baudelaire’s admirable translations 
he was able to read Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales. Their macabre 
character appealed to something in his own nature, and the 
early etchings they inspired are among the most personal of 
Legros’ plates. It was as an etcher, perhaps, that he found 


Legros comes 
to England 

most encouragement. Though his prints have never readied 
the prices achieved by other modern etchers, the best of them 
show a dignity of design and a solid draughtsmanship which 
many collectors of prints fail to appreciate. Like most of his 
contemporaries, Legros found it difficult to make a living by 
his etching and painting in Paris. Whistler, one of his earliest 
friends, advised him to try his fortune in England; so he came 
to London, and was introduced to Rossetti by Whistler. 
Dante Gabriel, with his usual quick generosity, put him into 
touch with Lady Ashburton, who had already commissioned 
Fantin-Latour to make copies of old masters. She now em- 
ployed Legros in the same way. This unhappily led to a mis- 
understanding between the two artists that was never healed. 
When later, being in Paris with Legros, I was anxious to 
bring the two old friends together again, Legros was willing, 
but Fantin held back, and the meeting never took place. 
Edward Poynter, who had been friendly both with Legros 
and Whistler in Paris, admired Legros’ scholarly work. 
Poynter had been elected the first Slade professor of painting 
in London, after a period as head of the Government School 
of Art at South Kensington, and he now offered to retire from 
the Slade in Legros’ favour. This extremely generous action 
on Poynter’s part enabled Legros to settle permanently in 
London, sure at last of a regular income. Though he married 
an Englishwoman and his children were all born in England, 
he never learnt to speak English, and this was awkward for 
those among us who knew no French. His assistants, how- 
ever, on whom we depended, translated whatever he said, 
although in the Antique room they had little need, since his 
criticisms there were usually laconic and somewhat bleak. 
None the less, Legros’ personality commanded great respect. 
If he kept me and others for a whole year in the Antique room, 
Legros’ estimate of our abilities was probably shrewd enough. 
He urged us to train our memories, to put down in our sketch 
books things seen in the streets. We were also encouraged to 
copy, during school hours, in the National Gallery and in 
the Print Room of the British Museum. 


I fancy we used the Print Room more assiduously than the Copying 
students of other schools. It is not easy to decide how far from th& 
copying, the method by which most of the old masters learned masters 
their trade, is necessary to the modern student, whose work 
is based more on direct drawing and painting than was usual 
in the past; copying freely is certainly the best means of un- 
derstanding the methods and outlook of good artists. More- 
over, to do so is natural, it seems, since most young poets and 
painters begin by imitation. Legros, as a student of Lecoq, 
had no doubt of the wisdom of this. He used to say ‘ Si vous 
volez, il faut voler des riches, et non pas des pauvres’. And 
to work at the National Gallery was indeed a relief from 
the uneventful hours I spent in the cast room. I copied 
Rembrandt’s head of an old man with a turban, Raphael’s 
Pope Julius, and filled more than one book with drawings 
after Michael Angelo, Raphael, Diirer, Leonardo, Holbein, 

Signorelli and others. In the engraving room at the Slade 
School I etched plates after Rembrandt, Diirer, van Dyck, 

Paul Potter and Callot. 

It was a stirring event for us students when Legros, once 
a term at least, painted a head before the whole school. 

Practical demonstration is unquestionably the most inspiring 
method of teaching. Legros had a masterly way of con- 
structing a head by the simplest means. He worked on a 
canvas previously stained a warm neutral tone, beginning by 
brushing in the shadows, then the half-tones, finally adding 
the broad lights. He had a particular objection to any undue 
insistence on reflected lights, and this is the part of his teaching 
I remember most clearly. Legros’ views were impressed on 
us chiefly by old Mr Slinger and Charles Holroyd. We knew 
and respected Holroyd’s able drawings and etchings; of Mr 
Slinger, as an artist that is, we knew nothing. With his large 
nose, grey beard and shaky, stooping frame, he was an easy 
target for caricature. Whether or not he was a legacy from 
Poynter’s reign I do not know. Though later I became in- 
timate with Legros, I recall no reference to poor Mr Slinger’s 
career. Of Charles Holroyd Legros was especially fond. 


A Yorkshire A handsome, upstanding Yorkshireman, blunt in his speech, 
artist but most courteous in manner, young though he was when 
Legros first chose him as his assistant, Holroyd won our 
confidence and affection. His devotion to Legros remained 
constant throughout his life. It was largely through Holroyd 
and Strang that I came to appreciate fully Legros’ teaching. 
The opening of the New Gallery in 1888 gave me a chance 
of seeing two of Legros’ paintings, a dead Christ, and the 
Femmes en Priere, now hanging at Millbank, both notable 
examples of direct painting. The heads and hands of the latter 
are beautifully drawn. When, some years later, I spent an 
evening with Legros at Degas’ home in the rue Victor Masse, 
Degas showed us, in his bedroom, hung between two draw- 
ings by Ingres, a gold-point study of hands by Legros. 

Legros was a supporter of both the Grosvenor and the 
New Gallery. He took no trouble to hide the critical spirit 
in which he regarded the Royal Academy. He had little re- 
spect for most of the Academicians, not because they were 
academic, but for the reason that they represented neither 
tradition nor scholarship; on this account he never en- 
couraged his students to exhibit at Burlington House, and in 
this way he fostered the independence for which the Slade 
School has been famous since. The essential tradition of the 
Slade School has, however, been one of constructive drawing, 
brilliantly carried on, after Legros’ time, by Frederick Brown 
and Henry Tonks. Augustus John was to raise the standard 
of drawing among Slade students in dazzling fashion; but 
this time was not yet. Since Strang’s and Sichel’s day drawing 
there had declined and there was no outstanding draughts- 
man during my year at Gower Street. 

It was from my companions at University Hall, then a 
students’ hostel, that I got my keenest mental s tim ulus. The 
Hall, of which Henry Morley was Warden, was shared by 
students of University College and Unitarian students be- 
longing to Manchester New College. I confess I found the 
atmosphere there warmer and kindlier than at the Slade. 
Perhaps because I was a very small boy among much older 

2 6 


men, I found everyone welcoming and helpful. I enjoyed the University 
communal life, the keen talk and the varied interests. Henry Hall 
Morley himself was a wide- viewed scholar and the kindest of 
men. In his family circle at Haverstock Hill I was warmly 
received. A familiar figure at the Hall was Dr Martineau, 
whose portrait by Watts hung in the library. Older students 
of University College were Frank Heath, Gregory Foster, 

Digby Besant, William Jellie and G. F. Hill. I was a raw 
provincial lad, ignorant, ill-disciplined but eager for know- 
ledge, and these patient friends opened my eyes to many as- 
pects of dichtung and wahrheit. Of Slade students I saw most 
of Frank Carter and a young Scotsman, J. P. Downie. 

Arthur Studd, Harry Furse and Alfred Thornton I got to 
know more intimately later. I enjoyed meeting men who 
were following other pursuits, medicine, science, history, 
philosophy and theology. There was much good talk after 
dinner in men’s rooms, and good talk is a thing I have always 
enjoyed. When I wanted other society I went to the Weet- 
man Pearsons’, at Durham Villas. There I was sure of a wel- 
come; Annie Pearson, knowing my taste for ‘curiosities’, 
would ask me to draw Christmas cards for her. This brought 
an addition to my pocket money with which I could add to 
the bare amenities of my room. 

I used to take a bright green bus to get to Kensington, a 
bus which stopped, cadging for passengers, many times on 
the way; it must then have taken nearly an hour to get from 
Piccadilly Circus to Kensington Church. Sometimes I walked 
through Hyde Park, to watch the carriages, in which young 
ladies sat very erect, facing their mothers, as they were driven 
up and down. Fashionable people, in those days, must re- 
gularly show themselves in the Park. It was one of the sights 
of London to see the horses and carriages there, and the fine 
people, who were on exhibition every afternoon. 

We had our meals in the large dining room of University 
Hall. In this dining room was a mural decoration of Crabb 
Robinson and his friends, done by Edward Armitage. 

This I greatly admired. I have not seen it since, nor heard 


Decorations it referred to, yet it must be one of the rare direct wall 
at the Hall paintings in London, and contains portraits of Blake, 
Lamb, Wordsworth and others of Crabb Robinson’s 

Another painting, long since destroyed, I hope, was done 
at University Hall. The subject was Marius on the ruins of 
Carthage, an atrocity I had the impudence to paint on the 
door of my room. This room came to be a kind of show- 
room to which Professor Henry Morley used to bring visitors. 
It was full of casts, prints, swords and cheap bric-a-brac, 
which I collected in my furtive wanderings in Cumberland 
Market and round old furniture and print shops. I say 
‘furtive’, for London being new and strange to me, I could 
never resist exploring old streets and old shops, wasting 
many hours, which should have been virtuously occupied in 
drawing casts at the Slade. I had read most of Dickens’ 
books, and the ghosts of his characters seemed to haunt those 
old streets that lay between Holborn, Oxford Street, Fleet 
Street and the Strand. The old Inns of Court, Clare Market, 
Drury Lane, Holywell Street, one of the oldest London 
streets surviving at the time, a narrow lane with overhanging 
gabled houses monopolised by bookshops, were endlessly 
interesting; ragged boys, without shoes and stockings, sold 
newspapers or turned Catherine wheels for pennies; young 
girls in tight black bodices, wearing big feathered hats, with 
aprons around their slender waists, danced mournfully and 
stiffly round Italian organs in the roadway. There was some- 
thing hieratic in their expressionless faces and in their steps. 
Dull-eyed men, and women in shawls, many carrying babies, 
unkempt save for their elaborately arranged low-fringed hair, 
swarmed outside and inside the numberless public houses. 
Most of these streets have long since been destroyed to make 
room for Aldwych and Kingsway. The booksellers of Holy- 
well Street have migrated to Charing Cross Road — cleaner 
but more prosaic quarters. Zola, Rabelais and even Boccaccio 
were in those days taboo, and while books of every kind 
were to be found in Holywell Street, it was there alone that 


unlicensed literature might be bought. For this reason this Life in London 
street had, in some measure, a doubtful reputation. 

People who know only the neat modern antique shop, 
with its few pieces carefully shown behind plate-glass, can 
scarcely realise the rich confusion of the old curiosity shops, 
with their deep, dark, dusty interiors choked and crowded 
with articles of every kind. Things which would excite the 
envy of modem buyers were to be purchased for what would 
now appear trifling sums. In the print shops one might find 
precious studies by old masters among the heaps of miscel- 
laneous drawings in portfolios; drawings by Blake, Gains- 
borough and Rowlandson were by no means uncommon and 
could be purchased for a few shillings. 

There was little or no bohemianism among the Slade stu- 
dents, either in dress, manners, or habits, at least among those 
I consorted with. I cannot remember going to a restaurant, 
cafe or music hall, during this first year in London. We went 
religiously to the Lyceum to see Irving and Ellen Terry in 
Macbeth , also, less religiously, to see Faust-up-to-date at 
the old Gaiety Theatre, with Nelly Farren and Fred Leslie 
in the principal parts. If I saw any other plays, I have for- 
gotten them. 

I remember one incident: while going for an evening walk 
with two French students from University College we came 
to a house, in what street I know not, and the Frenchmen 
suddenly shouted ‘ vive Floquet’. They then informed me 
that General Boulanger was staying in the house we had just 

Through the acquaintance of a then well-known novelist, 

Miss Adeline Sargent, I came into touch with the People’s 
Palace. I may have helped with the classes there, under the 
direction of Sir Edward Currie. I went often to Toynbee 
Hall, where I was welcomed by Canon Barnett. Here also 
Llewellyn Smith and others were studying pauperism, and 
C.' R. Ashbee was teaching metal-work. The Barnetts were 
also beginning to organise exhibitions of paintings with the 
warm support of Watts, Burne-Jones and Holman Hunt, who 


Whitechapel freely lent their pictures. The Barnetts had, I fancy, but 
slender funds at their disposal, on which account we acted by 
turn as warders while the exhibitions were on. I was given 
charge of one of the rooms in which Holman Hunt’s Mas- 
sacre of the Innocents was hung, so I had plenty of time to 
examine this strange picture. I found it difficult to under- 
stand the literal representation of a subject so remote from 
credible human experience. Its cruelty had no appropriate 
symbolic excuse, and might well cause doubt in the mercy 
of Providence. It was not until later in life that Breughel’s 
profound interpretation of this subject gave it, for the first 
time in my eyes, a human quality. 

I also spent an evening each week in a boys’ club in Leman 
Street, the Whittington Club, where I taught drawing and 
modelling. To become a worker in Whitechapel seemed an 
adventure; the East End was a part of London remote and 
of ill repute, which needed missionaries, it appeared, and it 
flattered my self-esteem to be one of these. I really liked 
some of the lads at the Whittington Club, and being liked in 
return gave a value to what had been vanity otherwise. I made 
good friends with some of the youths there. They had a cadet 
corps, and suggested I should join as an officer. I fancied 
myself in uniform, with a sword, and I drooped when the 
drill-sergeant looked me critically up and down. He found 
nothing to encourage any martial notions I cherished. 

These activities were rather worrying to my parents; it 
was the time of the murders by Jack the Ripper, and White- 
chapel had a sinister sound to provincial ears. As a matter of 
fact I came into touch, in this way, with many fine and en- 
lightened people. A letter home at this time describes a visit 
to Cyril Flower’s house at Marble Arch — a house full of 
paintings by old masters and objects of art. This was some- 
how in connection with East End activities. Another letter 
gives an account of Stopford Brooke’s house in Manchester 
Square. There was no Tate Gallery in those days, and I was 
anxious to see all I could of Legros’ paintings. There were 
one or two of his portrait studies (one of Browning among 


them) in the South Kensington Museum, but no pictures. So Stopford 
Charles Holroyd gave me an introduction to Stopford Brooke, Brooke’s 
■who owned several works by Legros. Brooke was not in house 
when I called, but I was shown over the house by Miss Honor 

The house had the rich air, the profusion, of the Victorian 
interior. Large prints of Rome and huge Italian woodcuts 
filled the hall. Prints and drawings covered the walls from 
bottom to top as one climbed up flight after flight of staircase, 
prints and drawings hung close together in passages, bed- 
rooms and bathrooms. In the dining room and drawingroom 
were paintings by Legros, Giovanni Costa, Lord Carlisle and 
Walter Crane ; water-colours by Turner and Blake; drawings 
by Bume-J ones and Rossetti. Also a drawing by Rossettihung 
high up outside the drawing room, an early study for Found. 

I happened to mention this drawing with particular enthusiasm 
inaletter home. Later, when visiting Stopford Brooke, I used 
often to beg for a chair, to get close to this lovely drawing. 

After his death I found he had left it to me in his will. 

I saw some more of Legros’ work at the opening of the 
New Gallery, to which I have already referred. At the 
Egyptian Hall, where the exhibitions of the New English Art 
Club were held, I first saw paintings by Wilson Steer and 
Walter Sickert, with both of whom I was later to be inti- 
mately associated. The exhibition of paintings at the New 
Gallery was followed by the first exhibition of Arts and 
Crafts, inspired by William Morris and Walter Crane. I can 
recall the general effect of the rooms, but no particular works. 

And there was a visit to a girls’ school where, oddly enough, 

Whistler chose to show a number of his paintings. While I 
was there classes were being held, and it was somewhat 
embarrassing to walk about and look at the pictures hung 
in the class-rooms. This was my first acquaintance with 
Whistler’s work, of which I had heard but vaguely before. 

Full of excitement I returned to the Slade to discover that 
Legros strongly disapproved of Whistler’s influence ; so there 
was an added fascination in the taboo. 


Good pictures With a taste quite unformed I liked many bad pictures 
and bad equally with good ones. My appetite, like a child’s, was a 
healthy one, I think, whereby I was able to digest and absorb 
what was needful for my artistic growth. I was greatly 
attracted by the Dyce and Forster collections at the South 
Kensington Museum, then housed in a less princely way than 
they are at present. The Museum always seemed a particularly 
friendly place, with its unpretentious entrances, and E. F. 
Strange, who was then looking after the library and prints, 
was kind and helpful. The Dyce collection being a small one, 

I became more familiar with the pictures and drawings there 
than ■with those in the larger galleries. On Sunday afternoons 
I frequently went to Litde Holland House, when Watts threw 
open his studios to visitors. 

The veneration we felt for George Frederick Watts may 
to-day seem as misplaced as our admiration for George 
Meredith. It is doubtful whether peptonised taste is more 
sustaining than peptonised food. Knowledge of works of 
art can be honestly earned by hard work alone. An artist 
learns, not through books or the opinions of others, but by 
hourly struggle with the difficulties of actual drawing and 
painting. Appreciation runs parallel with experience. The 
understanding of works of art must of necessity be a slow 
growth, like the wisdom we gain in our dealings with life. 
Youth is quick to respond to what seems daring and novel, 
and doesn’t look deeply into what dazzles it. So it sees at 
least with a generous eye, and its praise never waits on expert 
opinion. Whistler’s gibe at Oscar Wilde, that he had the 
courage of the opinions- — of others, is apt enough when ap- 
plied to the connoisseurs whose weakness is a wish to be 
right. Looking back, every artist can remember enthusiasms 
which have quickly or slowly faded. But when they were 
active they were honest and potent, and need no apology. 

Our high estimate of Watts and his paintings I still feel to 
be justified. Some of his large compositions may be vulner- 
able enough. As with many English artists, Watts’ vision 
was over-much influenced by painting — in his case by Vene- 


tian painting. His construction is often faulty and his sub- An epic 
jects are admittedly didactic; yet he is likely to take his painter 
place finally as one of the most richly endowed artists of the 
English school. T o-day the epic spirit is under a cloud, because 
it does not now come naturally to modern painters. But to 
Watts it did come naturally, and the mention of his name 
evokes a luminous world of his own creation. This in itself 
is a proof of his genius. Carlyle said, of great talkers, that 
they may talk more nonsense than other men, but they may 
also talk more sense. So Watts may have painted more tedious 
pictures than men less copiously endowed, but he painted 
more splendid ones. Certainly, in the early days of which 
I am writing, Watts spoke to me more eloquently than did 
any other living artist. I was soon — too soon perhaps — to 
find other loves, some lighter, some equally worth devotion; 
but the impression the great compositions and portraits to- 
gether made upon me at Little Holland House is unforgettable. 

At Millbank to-day, and the same applies to the Guildford 
Galleries, much of this impressiveness is lost by over- 
crowding. At Little Holland House one saw great composi- 
tions in carefully chosen places; among these hung smaller 
studies and groups of portraits : Ellen Terry and her sister, 

Mrs Langtry in a delicious quaker bonnet, Lady Lytton 
golden-haired, and Mrs Senior bending over her plants, the 
grave Joachim with his fiddle, William Morris and other 
blue-eyed, fresh-complexioned English men and women. 

There was a racial quality in all these portraits, a spirit re- 
mote from the model-stand, from Louis XV settees and 
Coromandel screens. For Watts could still paint men and 
women in surroundings which belong to their own time. 

Victorian furniture, Victorian carpets and curtains, were 
not borrowed from other ages; ‘period’ furniture had not 
yet come in, nor had the fashion for furnishing homes 
through dealers in antiques. Watts represented the flower of 
Victorian beauty and culture with a distinction which nobody 
since has been able to recreate. In Watts’ studio all these 
pictures seemed thoroughly at home. Times have changed; 




William Strang his ample manner of living, the noble circle of men and 
■women to which he belonged no longer survive; but for a 
youngster to get a glimpse of this great world each time one 
went to Melbury Road was an exhilarating privilege. The 
memory of these visits to Little Holland House remains as 
something rich and precious, unlike any other experience. 

Ernest Sichel had given me a letter to William Strang. 
I knew and admired his drawings and etchings, had indeed 
copied some of them while still at Bradford, and myself 
owned an original drawing by Strang, given me by Sichel, 
of which I was very proud. Strang was a short, ruddy, broad- 
shouldered, thickset Lowlander with a strong Scottish accent 
and a forehead like a bull, above which the hair grew stiff 
and strong like a southern Frenchman’s. He was a staunch 
admirer of Legros; this was evident in his drawings and 
etchings. He had much of Legros’ remarkable power of 
design; his drawing was solid and energetic, and he showed 
a grim and lusty inventiveness in the composition of his 
subjects. He was an admirably equipped artist, and at a time 
when the Glasgow school was becoming fashionable, he was 
for long under-estimated. In spite of a real curiosity for life, 
and a fertile invention, an element of pastiche sometimes 
creptinto his work, an infection caught, perhaps, from Legros. 
He was an ardent experimenter in many materials and 
methods — what he admired he at once attempted to do 

Strang gave me much good advice; he was hospitable 
and always ready to talk— about artists, about drawing and 
painting, and of his own opinions. And I was all ears. He 
had just ccompleted a set of etchings for The Pilgrim’s 
Progress and complained that no publisher would take them : 
they all wanted prettier things. He said he never used 
models for his subject etchings. I told him of my int ens e love 
for J. F. Millet’s art, and he sent me to an exhibition at 
Dowdeswells, where, besides paintings by Millet, I first saw 
canvases by Ingres, Delacroix, Corot, Daubigny, Diaz, and 
James and Mathew Maris. I was greatly excited by these 


artiste, especially by Millet and Delacroix, ■who were, inci- 
dentally, introduced in a preface by W. E. Henley, from 
which I quoted in a letter home. The only paintings I dis- 
liked, it seems, were Gercme’s — and Ingres’ ! 

Towards the end of the session I was given an introduc- 
tion to Solomon J. Solomon, then a rising young artist whose 
first exhibited pictures had made something of a stir at the 
Paris Salon and the Royal Academy. Solomon showed him- 
self to be an exceptionally capable painter of the big Salon 
‘machine’. Immoderate labour and skill were, year by year, 
spent on these immense fabrications — historical, biblical or 
oriental — signifying little. Solomon’s Samson was perhaps 
the most efficient example of this type of picture in England. 
Students were rather dazzled by his power of painting nude 
figures. He was all for French methods, and thought little 
of the teaching they gave at the Slade. He strongly urged 
me to go to Paris. Legros was clearly getting tired of 
teaching; there were whispers of a certain Frederick Brown 
at Westminster, who was drawing a new class of student by 
new methods, some, even, from the Slade; and Paris had a 
magical appeal. I found that Studd was thinking of going 
to Julian’s Academy. I therefore persuaded my father, to 
whom Solomon had written, to consent to my going at the 
same time. 

My father had a brother living in Paris, to whose care 
I was now confided. But for this I should scarcely have been 
allowed, at the early age of seventeen, to leave the safe rule 
of University Hall. I had no regret at leaving the Slade; and 
though Legros told me later that he had kept me back to 
gain a sound basis for my drawing, it was natural enough that 
the daily copying of casts for a whole year became irksome. 
Nor was my departure any loss, in their eyes, to the staff. 



Last days at the 



I arrive in T n Paris I was met by my uncle ; but on the way an incident 
Paris JL occurred which caused much amusement whenever we 
told it. 

Between the compartments in the French carriages were 
small triangular-shaped peepholes 'with rings in front of them, 
which served for stopping the train in case of emergency. 
Believing that a lady in the adjoining compartment was 
looking through and laughing at me, I pulled down the 
ring, thinking it would close a shutter, when to my horror 
the train began to slow down, and finally came to a standstill, 
and a group of officials came running along the line and 
stopped at die carriage in which I was sitting. There was an 
excited pow-wow; it was perhaps as well that I had no 
French. The officials finally withdrew, and the train went 
on. I was relieved to find myself unmolested on reaching 

My uncle had taken a room for me, all bed and divan and 
arm-chair, in a respectable quarter near the rue Lafayette. 
He meant well, but I determined to change both the room 
and the quarter as soon as possible. Next morning I found 
my way to the rue du Faubourg St Denis. 

The Academie Julian was a congeries of studios crowded 
with students, the walls thick with palette scrapings, hot, 
airless and extremely noisy. The new students were greeted 
with cries, with personal comments calculated, had we under- 
stood them, to make us blush, but with nothing worse. 


Perhaps this was still to come. Wild rumours were current 
about what students had sometimes to undergo. 

To find a place among the closely-packed easels and 
tabourets was not easy. It seemed that wherever one settled 
one was in somebody’s way. Happily Studd, who had ar- 
rived at Julian’s before me, took me under his wing and 
found me a comer in which I could work. He also proposed 
I should join him at his hotel, just across the river, opposite 
the Louvre. This was in the rue de Beaune, a little old street, 
parallel to the rue du Bac, running into the rue de Lille. 
Nothing could have suited me better. First of all there was 
the hotel itself — the H6tel de France et de Lorraine — estab- 
lished at the time of the first Empire, and little changed since. 
The hotel belonged indeed to descendants of the original pro- 
prietors — old-fashioned, courteous people. It was largely 
frequented by military men and Royalist families. Here I found 
a modestroom, at the price of 60 francs monthly; modest, but 
delightful in character. Bed, chest of drawers, chairs, carpet, 
even the curtains were pure ‘Empire’. A valet, Fran§ois, 
looked after us, an imposing figure with bushy side- whiskers, 
looking as though he had walked straight out of a Gavarni 
lithograph. Excellent Francois ! as intelligent as you were 
attentive and good-natured, I think of you still with gratitude 
and affection. 

Living at this hotel, besides Studd, there was Kenneth 
Frazier, a gifted American painter who had been at Bushey 
under Herkomer and was now also working at Julian’s, and 
Herbert Fisher, a young and learned history don from New 
College, who was attending lectures at the Sorbonne, sitting 
at the feet of Taine and Renan. 

Studd himself, before coming to the Slade, had been at 
Cambridge. Although several years older than I, he had 
preserved a delightfully child-like nature, an affectionate 
simplicity which endeared him to everyone, man, woman 
and child. His manners were frank and unconventional, with 
an engaging diffidence. To Frenchmen he appeared the tra- 
ditional Milord , whose eccentricities, however extravagant, 




Paris streets wore to be accepted without surprise. Much better off than 
most of us, he occupied two of the largest and best- 
furnished rooms in the hotel, and his sitting room served as 
a sort of common-room for us all. We were soon joined by 
a German artist who was also studying at Julian’s — Ludwig 
von Hofmann. J. K. Stephen was then attending Julian’s 
irregularly. He couldn’t draw, but he was a fascinating per- 
son, and a brilliant talker. But his health became a source of 
anxiety to his friends, and he did not stay long in Paris. 
A cousin of Herbert Fisher, William Vaughan, now head- 
master of Rugby, was living at a pension near by, kept by 
Madame Casaubon, well known to English University men 
who were studying French. It was a pleasant circle in which 
to find oneself. These first days in Paris seemed like paradise 
after a London purgatory. 

First and foremost there was Paris itself. To cross one of 
the bridges over the Seine was each morning and evening an 
event. The tall buildings along the quays, dove-grey, or 
sparkling white in the sun, the trees leaning over the river, 
the bath houses, the barges loading and unloading below the 
bridges — so many things happening in so small a space, made 
the quays a source of perpetual interest. Every day I enjoyed 
the walk through the high narrow streets to the rue du 
Faubourg St Denis, itself swarming with life. The concierges 
in their white caps, the Auvergnats slouching along in huge 
hats, and wide, baggy trousers, the red and blue soldiers and 
cloakedpolicemen, Algerians, Bretons, and the infinite variety 
of French types one saw — English fashions for me n had 
not then become general — all appeared novel, yet, through 
picture books probably, queerly familiar. And following on 
the orderliness of the Slade, and the aloofness of the students, 
the swarming life at the Academie Julian seemed vivid, ex- 
hilarating and pregnant with possibilities. 

Students from all over the world crowded the studios. 
There were Russians, Turks, Egyptians, Serbs, Roumanians, 
Finns, Swedes, Germans, Englishmen and Scotchmen, and 
many Americans, besides a great number of Frenchmen. By 



■what means Julian had attracted all these people was a U Academie 

mystery. He was said to have had an adventurous career, to Julian 

have been a prize-fighter — he looked like one — and to have 

sat as a model. He himself used to tell the story of how, at 

his wits’ end for a living, he hired a studio, put a huge 

advertisement, ‘ Academie de Peinture’, outside, and waited 

day after day, lonely and disconsolate ; but there was no 

response. One day he heard a step on the stairs; a youth 

looked in, saw no one, was about to retire, when Julian 

rushed forward, pulled him back, placed an easel before him, 

himself mounted the model-stand ‘et 1’ Academie Julian 

etait fondle!’ More students followed; another studio was 
added, and finally the big ateliers in the rue du Faubourg 
St Denis were taken, and a separate atelier for ladies was 

Julian himself knew nothing of the arts. He had persuaded 
a number of well-known painters and sculptors to act as 
visiting professors, and the Academie Julian became, after 
the Beaux-Arts, the largest and most renowned of the Paris 

The most famous of the professors was Bouguereau, whose 
name was a household word in Europe and America. His 
name also typified, among those we now call high-brows, all 
that was most false and sentimental in popular painting — 
peinture leckee , the French called it. I avoided the studios he 
visited, and chose to work under Jules Lefebvre, Benjamin 
Constant and Lucien Doucet. 

Lefebvre, a skilful but thoroughly conventional painter of 
the nude, was personally straightforward and unaffected. 

Doucet, a suave and polished Parisian, had more sympathy 
for the experimental eccentricities current in the studios. 

There was something enigmatic in his character. It was 
puzzling to find a man, obviously intelligent and, in his way, 
a brilliant draughtsman, entirely dominated by the Salon 
conventions of the time. Constant, a powerful but brutal 
painter, with a florid taste, one of the props of the old Salon, 

I remember as a less regular visitor. 


L if e in the At the Academie there were no rules, and, save for a 
studios mossier in each studio who was expected to prevent flagrant 
disorder, there was no discipline. I believe the professors 
were unpaid. You elected to study under one or more of 
these, working in the studios they visited. Over the entrance 
to the studios were written Ingres’ words ‘Le dessin est la 
probite de l’art’; and ‘ Cherchez le caract&re dans la nature’. 

We drew with charcoal on Ingres paper; the system in 
vogue was to divide the figure into four parts, measuring 
with charcoal held at arm’s length, and using a plumb line to 
get the fig ure standing well on its feet. No one attempted to 
draw sight-size, but the figure would usually fill the sheet of 
paper. So great was the number of students, two models, not 
always of the same sex, usually sat in each studio. Our easels . 
were closely wedged together, the atmosphere was stifling, 
the noise at times deafening. Sometimes for a few minutes 
there was silence; then suddenly the men would burst 
into song. Songs of all kinds and all nations were sung. 
The Frenchmen were extraordinarily quick to catch foreign 
tunes and the sounds of foreign words. There was merciless 
chaff among the students, and frequently practical jokes, 
some of them very cruel. 

Although I had never drawn from the life at the Slade, the 
professors seemed to find some character in my drawing, 
complimenting me on my good fortune in having been a 
pupil of Legros. Legros was still remembered in Paris: a 
painting by him hung in the Luxembourg Gallery, and his 
etchings were often to be seen in the windows and portfolios 
of the print shops. Doucet was exceedingly kind to me. He 
frequently asked me to his studio, and gave me introductions 
to artists, among others to Rochegrosse, Bracquemond and 

Forain was then working chiefly for Le Courier Francois, 
week by week producing the mordant drawings and legends 
which were afterwards published as La Comidie Parisierme. 
On an auspicious day, armed with Doucet’s letter, I set out 
to find him. On reaching his studio, I noticed a quantity of 


furniture, including one or two easels, in the street. Before Early struggles 

I could ring, a youngish man with a brown, fan-like beard, of Forain 

appeared at the entrance; he turned out to be the admired 

artist himself. The furniture in the street was his; he was 

being sold up. This, I found out later, not infrequently 

happened. Forain is now, I am told, one of the wealthiest 

artists in Paris. Such changes of fortune are not unusual, 

but there was little to show in those days that Forain would 

arrive at his present eminence. 

Doucet had told me to show Forain my own drawings. 

These were done on thin brown paper in sketch books 
specially made by Newmans for John Swan. Forain’s com- 
ments on the drawings were no doubt appropriately polite, 
but for the sketch books, bound in pleasant green cloth 
strengthened by leather, he expressed unstinted admiration. 

Could I get him some? Yes indeed; I was only too proud 
and ready. How many? Three or four. Four were ordered. 

Needless to say, the good Forain never thought of asking for 
the account, and I was far too shy to proffer it. My finances, 
in consequence, were crippled for a month. 

It was probably on account of my liking for Japanese art 
that Doucet invited me to meet Rochegrosse, who was a 
keen collector of Japanese prints and paintings. Rochegrosse 
(who was a son of Theodore de Banville) was a pleasant 
enough person, but I was not greatly attracted by his work; 
he painted immense canvases not unlike Solomon’s, but still 
more sensational and bizarre — I had seen a Vuellius dragged 
through the streets of Rome at the Exhibition, a character- 
istic work of his. Bracquemond was an artist of a more 
modest character. Like Frank Short, he was a master crafts- 
man, and an admirable interpreter on copper. He gave me 
valuable advice on the subject of etching. I did not however 
continue etching in Paris; direct drawing attracted me more. 

The Paris Exhibition of 1889 is confused, in my mind, 
with the Exhibition of 1899. Whether it was there or at 
Durand-Ruel’s Galleries in the rue le Pelletier that I first saw 
p ainting s by Courbet and Manet, Degas, Monet, Pissarro 


The Louvre and Puvis de Chavannes, I cannot now recollect; but I soon 
became a convert to Impressionism, and a more ardent one 
than either Studd or Frazier. Fisher also declared himself a 
convinced disciple ! We all admired Basden-Lepage, Dagnan- 
Bouveret, and especially Cazin; and even quite pedestrian 
artists like Eliot and Aman-Jean. Watts and Rossetti were, 
for the time, obscured. But not Millet; his two paintings at 
the Louvre were strangely moving. Le Printemps seemed 
to me then, as it has ever since, a perfect painting; and 
L’Eglise a Greville more austere, and equally complete. 

Delacroix I did not understand ; though I didn’t then know 
the word ‘baroque 5 , his paintings, compared with others 
at the Louvre, appeared somewhat as those of Tiepolo or 
Le Brun would appear in a church, to a lover of Giotto or 
Piero della Francesca. Response to Delacroix’ genius came 

The great Rubens’ decorations were also above me then; 
I was unable to see the superhuman qualities of the painting 
on account of the falseness of the heroics. Ingres seemed to 
me the fine flower of academic painring — I was told I ought 
to admire him, but he failed to stir me. 

Botticelli was to us then what I suppose El Greco to be to 
youngsters to-day; Rembrandt’s Butcher s Shop seemed to 
me the last word in realistic painting; and his picture of The 
Good Samaritan. , the slight indication of blood on the ground 
to show where the wounded man had lain before being lifted 
up and carried away, opened my eyes to Rembrandt’s almost 
biblical imagination. 

Another picture which moved me strangely was Fra An- 
gelico’s Coronation of the Virgin — those beautiful women, 
with their pure necks and virginal persons, whose colour 
alone, so clear and spotless in its delicate purity, gave one a 
glimpse of paradise. 

I noticed, when I went to the Louvre after returning from 
Givemy, that many pictures seemed to smell too much 
of the workroom, of actual paint and varnish. But Fra 
Angelico’s and some others among the primitives, never. 


'ding friends France herself once looked to Italy, as the natural home of 
painting. But the promiscuity of the studios brought me into 
contact with several among the French students. Bataille, 
who later gave up painting to become a successful playwright, 
d’Espagnat, and a student named Thevenot, were the first 
French friends I made. 

Another student to whom I became attached was Charles 
Duvent. Duvent, noted for his mordant wit and keen esprit, 
was one of the most influential among the students at Julian’s. 
Zuloaga, Maurice Denis and Bonnard were, I believe, then 
working at Julian’s, but I did not meet them until later. The 
studios were full of Americans. Paris has always been the 
Mecca of American painters. Not only young students, but 
older painters came to work there. Some of the Americans 
who joined our circle at the rue de Beaune — Humphreys 
Johnston, Philip Hale, Sargent Kendall, and Howard Hart — 
had already had pictures hung at the Salon, in my eyes a 
wonderful feat. Once, I remember, when I heard some of 
them discussing the places given to their works, I marvelled 
how anyone could mind how and where he was hung, so 
great a thing did the acceptance of a picture at the Salon 
seem to me. We used to dine •with our American friends at a 
little restaurant called Thirion’s on the Boulevard St Germain, 
going on from there to various studios and rooms in the rue 
de Seine and adjacent streets, to endless discussions on Cour- 
bet, Manet and Monet, Puvis de Chavannes and Besnard. 

Besnard was our latest discovery. He stood between the 
more skilful of the Salon painters and independent artists 
like Degas, Monet and Renoir. He was not popular, among 
the Impressionists, who regarded him as a Salon painter who 
had adopted the colour, but was incapable of the heat, of 
their fire. ‘ Besnard, vous volez de nos propres ailes,’ Degas 
had said to him. But we knew little of Degas or his work, 
having seen only the small pastels then in the Caillebotte 
collection of the Luxembourg, while Besnard’s effects of 
light and lamp-light on nudes were a fascinating novelty, 
much imitated at Julian’s. 


My fellow student, von Hofmann, had discovered Bes- 
nard’s wall paintings at the £cole de Pharmacie, and took me 
to see them. So much did he admire these decorations that, 
with Besnard’s permission, he made careful copies of them. 
This devotion naturally gained him Besnard’s acquaintance, 
to whom he showed one of my sketch books, and one evening, 
a great event for us, Besnard, out of the kindness of his heart, 
invited von Hofmann and myself to dinner to meet Puvis de 
Chavannes, whom he knew we both worshipped from afar. 
The great day arrived; but could this rubicund, large-nosed 
old gendeman, encased so correcdy in a close-fitting frock- 
coat, looking more like a senator than an artist, be the 
Olympian Puvis? The only other guest was Forain, who 
took die lead in the conversation, and made havoc not only 
of the dishes before him, but of reputations which to us were 
sacrosanct. Puvis himself had an alarming appetite; we 
heard later that it was his habit to work all day with no break 
for luncheon. 

After dinner we adjourned to the studio, where Besnard’s 
latest canvases stood about on easels. We waited breath- 
lessly to hear Puvis’ comments, but it was always Forain 
who played the critic. Puvis was discreedy genial, and said 
little that was remarkable. 

An occasion like this was rare. French family life is 
notoriously intimate, and strangers are not readily admitted 
into the family circle. Usually I dined with Studd, Frazier 
and Fisher at a quiet restaurant in the rue de Lille, where 
iperlans frits was a favourite dish. Sometimes at the be- 
ginning of the month, when the monthly allowance was in- 
tact, we went to Sylvain’s, a more luxurious restaurant behind 
the Opera. To me the cooking there seemed perfect, and we 
got a glimpse of the gayer side of the Paris restaurants. Then 
perhaps we would sit outside the Cafe de la Paix, and watch 
the stream of people passing, bearded Frenchmen, English 
tourists, rastaquoueres and cocottes , the shabby and over- 
dressed, sinister-looking newspaper men, camelots shouting 
‘voila le Soir, la Bataille’, and others who left little toys on 


Invitation to 

Gastronomic the marble tables. Or we -walked along the Boulevard des 
adventure Italiens between the Opera and the Madeleine, admiring the 
shadows of the plane trees thrown by the tall electric lights 
on the broad pavement, or down the more crowded Boule- 
vards, past the Cafe Riche, and the Cafe Americain, and 
Tortoni’s, with the dandies leaning on the railings. I looked 
with curiosity as I passed the Cafe Americain, where sat 
enormous, overdressed women, in great feathered hats and 
boas, painted and powdered, usually a black woman amongst 
them, by whom I marvelled that anyone could be attracted. 
But the gross pleasure of eating was not, for us, a vain 
illusion. During the first weeks in Paris our gastronomic 
exaltation quite equalled our aesthetic enthusiasm. The dis- 
covery of vol au vent , cceur a la creme , of omelettes of many 
kinds, within the measure of one’s pocket, made luncheon 
and dinner a daily adventure. It was no form of dissipation 
which had to be paid for then or thereafter; so these golden 
hours spent at French tables were taken as a gift of the gods, 
accepted gratefully, and with modest libations. Even the 
grave Fisher grew lyrical over the eper Ians frits, the truite a 
la riviere , the rouget; and where in England, save in private 
houses, can one find the fat, juicy steaks, thechouxa la creme, 
the young and melting carrots, the aubergines} Was it not my 
friend Eric Gill who wrote that while God doesn’t particularly 
approve of luxury, at least he wants it in good taste? To 
French people cooking is a serious matter, and to be par- 
ticular about one’s food seems to them right and reasonable. 
That an ill-cooked dish should at once be rejected is, in 
France, taken for granted. An active criticalfaculty is applied 
in Paris to art and literature and the drama as -well as to 
cooking. I remember J. B. Clark coming to Paris from 
Cambridge with Arthur Shipley on purpose to see a per- 
formance of one of Victor Hugo’s plays — I think it was Le 
Roi S Amuse at the Theatre Frangais. He appeared to have 
been present at every representation of Victor Hugo’s plays 
for almost half a century, and he knew how every actor had 
filled and interpreted each particular role. He declared this 

knowledge to be general among a French audience; that at Visitors from 
the Theatre Frangais any new departure from the traditional England 
delivery of Racine and Moliere is detected and commented 
on; that it may once have been so in the English theatre, but 
now it was so no longer. 

Besides J. B. Clark we had other visitors at the rue de 
Beaune: Percy Mathieson, George Duckworth, Arthur Ship- 
ley and Villiers Stanford. I also met P. G. Hamerton — well 
known at one time as an art critic and writer on etching, and 
as the editor of The Portfolio, and immortalised by Whistler 
in The Gentle Art. He was then an old gentleman with a 
French wife and a French family, living just outside Paris, 
at Boulogne-sur-Seine. One day he insisted on taking me to 
the Louvre to show me exactly where the old buildings had 
stood. With the touching, unsteady gait of an old man, he 
walked carefully over the ground plan of all the buildings, 
while I stood coldly watching him, little interested in this 
peripatetic demonstration. Poor Mr Hamerton 1 he little 
knew how small was my knowledge of history, and how 
slight my curiosity for buildings which no longer existed. 

The Louvre as it stood was good enough for me. I was 
beginning to distinguish the buildings that remained since 
the days of Francois Premier, adorned with the long, elegant 
figures of Jean Goujon, from those of the time of Louis XIV 
and XV, and from the later Napoleonic additions, as we 
passed every day on our way to Julian’s. But how tired I got 
of the florid Garibaldi memorial. I understood the jeers of 
Claude and his friends, in Zola’s L’CEuvre, as they, too, 
walked by the stupid and pretentious sculpture so common 
in Paris. 

Herbert Fisher gave me some idea of the history of Paris, 
and took me to the Sainte-Chapelle and to Notre-Dame. 

Fisher used to attend Taine’s and Renan’s lectures at the 
College de France, or the Sorbonne; at times, too, he would 
meet diem personally, when Studd, Frazier and I would wait 
his return, to hear all he had to tell about these great men. 

On one of these occasions Taine advised Fisher to study 


Politics and medicine for three years ! — a historian should know some- 
drama thing of mental effects on human action. Fisher didn’t take 
Taine’s advice. Fisher met Renan when Deroulede was 
preaching la revanche ; Renan thought Deroulede a dan- 
gerous influence. Let France not risk a decision by the 
sword; rather let her, like Greece, lead the world as a great 
civilising power. She can have no more glorious future. 
Fisher returned from these interviews aglow with enthusiasm. 
Despite a somewhat grand manner, he had a very human and 
affectionate character, and we valued his company among us. 
He shared, too, our enthusiasm for French art and literature; 
so perhaps he gained something from his association with us 

What plays I saw during my first year I have forgotten, 
all save one. I went with Duvent to the Gymnase to see a 
new play by Alphonse Daudet, La Lutte pour la Vie. I could 
follow it fairly well, but one word, constantly repeated, 
puzzled me — strugforlijfeur — what did it mean? I asked 
Duvent. Why,’ said Duvent, ‘it is an English word.’ 
‘Surely not,’ I said. But he insisted, and finally I realised 
that struggler for life was intended ! 

I had read parts of Les Miseralles at school, also parts of 
Tartarin de Tarascon ; now I could read them for myself. 
But with a knowledge of Monet and Courbet came a zest for 
Tolstoi and Zola. I read War and Peace , writing home with 
enthusiasm of this great book, which was hardly fit for home 
reading, I loftily added. Fisher declared it to be the greatest 
novel ever written. Studd introduced me to Thomas Hardy, 
lending me Far from the Madding Crowd. But for the time 
my head was filled with French and Russian literature. 

Dostoievsky’s Idiot and Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir 
were two books that fascinated me; they impressed me so, 
I can still remember the scene in which the Prince smashes 
the china vase when he comes to the party, his heart full of 
love for them all; and Julien Sorel’s dilemma, when he felt 
he ought to caress Mme de Renal’s hand, impressed me too. 
All this "was an important part of my Paris experience; it was 


not studying at Julian’s only; it was a new dynamic sense of 
the fullness of life, of which I was daily becoming aware. 

During my first winter in Paris I was taken by an American 
friend to Giverny, a village near Vernon, famous now as 
the place where Claude Monet lived and painted, and where 
he died. I had never before been in the country during the 
winter; nor indeed among villagers. A new aspect of life 
was opened to me. There was a pleasant inn at Giverny, 
kept by Monsieur and Madame Baudy. The little cafe was 
fitted with panels, half of which were already filled by 
painters who had frequented the inn; and there was a billiard 
room whose white plastered walls had also tempted them. 
I, too, tried my first mural decoration on one of its walls, the 
subject forsooth ! a man hanged on a gallows. Attached to 
the inn was a typical village shop, where I purchased a pair 
of wooden sabots — not altogether an affectation, for sabots 
make useful wear for painting out-of-doors, especially in 
winter. They keep out the damp and the cloth footwear 
worn with diem keeps the feet warm. Only at first they 
make walking uncomfortable; one has to take long sliding 
steps to avoid friction at the bend of the foot. 

It was at Giverny that I painted my first landscapes. I had 
never seen either Gauguin’s or Van Gogh’s painting, but a 
short time ago, when I came upon some of the panels I painted 
then, I was surprised to find a queer likeness in these to t heir 

I know nothing so exhilarating to the spirit as painting out- 
of-doors. Indeed, I often wonder how anyone can feel the 
full beauty of a landscape unless he has tried to paint it. This 
was the first of my many excursions to paint in the country, 
and the intense delight it gave me brought me nearer to un- 
derstanding a religious attitude to life; for one’s very being 
seems to be absorbed into the fields, the trees and the walls 
one is striving to paint; an experience which, in later years, 
gave me an insight into the poetry of the great mystics, 
European and Eastern. This winter at Giverny is unfor- 
gettable. I had never before realised the beauty of winter 


Pilgrimage to 



Adventure with landscape, the shapes of the hare trees, and the austere con- 
a horse tours of the fields. It was the first of many visits. For the 
heat of the studios at Julian’s, after a few weeks, became 
unendurable, and a few days at Giverny were a respite from 
this. For exercise in Paris I joined a number of students at 
a riding school, and, when sufficiently expert, I was able to 
join Fisher, Studd and Frazier in excursions to ‘Robinson’, 
a wooded district near Paris, where a horse could be hired 
very cheaply. One day I was thrown, when I fell on my 
head and sprained my ankle ! 




E arly in the summer I returned to England, staying with Oxford and 
Fisher at Oxford on my way to the north. One day Fisher Germany 
came in and threw a hook on the table, saying he wished me 
to read it: it was by a nephew of Bume- Jones. He was curious 
to know my opinion of its merits. The book was Plain Tales 
from the Hills. 

Von Hofmann had pressed me to join him in Germany. 

Would I visit his people in Berlin first, see some of the 
Galleries, and then go on to Riigen to work? Being greatly 
attached to von Hofmann, I at once agreed. 

I found his people delightful. His father, who had been 
one of Bismarck’s young men and the first German Colonial 
Minister, was a typical German of the old school, scrupu- 
lously honest, outwardly severe, but actually gentle, cour- 
teous and extremely simple in his habits. He had been called 
to Versailles as one of the German legal advisers during the 
peace discussions in 1870, and so came under the old Kaiser’s 
notice. Frau von Hofmann was equally typical of the earlier 
generation; she managed the house herself, with the help of 
two unmarried daughters, and kept no maids. The daughters 
did the cooking and then came in and sat down to table. The 
little interior was generally full of brilliant young officers, 
for von Hofmann’s younger brother was in the Guards. 

I did not much care for Berlin. The old parts were well 
enough, but that genius for building which the Germans had 
formerly shown, and which was to assert itself again, was 




then in abeyance. The houses were pretentious and over 
ornate; but the blocks of new buildings, because of their 
greater height, looked impressive at sundown. I remember 
also the beauty of the gardens at night, gardens full of 
magnolias and flowering shrubs, many of them running 
down to the edge of the canals, which are among the attractive 
features of Berlin. 

I missed the old streets and the curio shops of London and 
Paris; Berlin seemed new, cold and rather parvenu; especially 
pretentious was the Sieges Allee, the construction of which 
the Kaiser himself had directed. The museums were very 
impressive, while the Zoo was enchanting, and far ahead 
of our own in those days in the provision of natural con- 

Von Hofmann’s uncle, Herr von Kekule, was head of the 
Greek department in the museum. He had been the Em- 
peror’s tutor at Bonn. His wife was a very beautiful and 
stately lady, of a classical mould not uncommon among 
German women, and there were two lovely young daughters. 

Von Hofmann, newly arrived from Paris, with his copies 
of Besnard, seemed, to museum circles, a very revolutionary 
artist. The Emperor actually sent a message to his father, 
ordering him to discourage his son from painting in this 
modem manner ! It seemed to me incredible that anything 
of the kind could happen; but I knew nothing of Court life, 
and was told this was characteristic of the Kaiser. 

Von Hofmann had a copious imagination, and poured out 
compositions remarkable for their lyrical quality. He him- 
self was proud and reserved, and expected little from life. 
He was not one of those whom the daily combat rouses to 
action. The anticipation of having to pack a trunk or catch 
a train upset his balance. He was shy, a little awkward, very 
diffident about his work; but his spirit poured itself out in 
novel designs and lovely vision, bright and clear as a moun- 
tain stream, the source of some hidden lake. Von Hofmann 
slowly won for himself a foremost place among German 
painters; but of late years the money changers have driven 

5 * 

the true worshippers from the Temple; and Hofmann’s gifts Liebermann 
are, for the moment, unappreciated. and Mendel 

Am ong the German artists I met, I was most struck by- 
Max Liebermann. Liebermann was a wit, and a notable figure 
in Berlin society. An unashamed Jew, he was notoriously 
unpopular; but he was clever enough, instead of trying to 
minimise his characteristics, to exaggerate them. His talent 
could not be ignored, nor indeed could his tongue be bridled, 
and being possessed of large private means, he could afford 
to indulge it fearlessly. He was a resourceful and adven- 
turous artist, a solid painter and draughtsman, standing head 
and shoulders above the other German realists. His work 
was uneven, but being a man of strong personality, it was 
easier for his friends to flatter than to speak frankly, and he 
allowed too much careless work to leave his studio. He had 
the gifts of a vital eye and hand; he was a sound painter of 
what was before him; but he had little or no imagination, and 
a Samson and Delilah which I saw in his studio shocked me 
by the crudity of its conception, and its raw execution. In 
spite of the praise of sycophantic painters, I persuaded him 
not to show it at the forthcoming ‘Secession’. When lately 
I saw it again, in the Frankfort Gallery, I saw no reason to 
change my judgment. 

The artist whose work I most admired was Adolph 
Menzel. This surprised the younger men, and the advanced 
critics whom I met. The German painters seemed to me to 
be neglecting the solid bourgeois qualities that had always 
distinguished German work, to be losing faith in their own 
culture and snatching at every latest fashion from France, 

Sweden and Norway. Menzel alone was not ashamed of the 
genial biirgerlich spirit which is the soul of German art. 

I saw an astonishing set of gouache drawings at the print 
room of the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum — heads of statesmen 
and soldiers, studies for the historical pictures he had painted 
for the old Emperor William, and a number of drawings 
at the Zoological Gardens, also in gouache, which Degas 
might have been proud to sign. Indeed, at his best, Menzel 


An invitation was Degas’ equal in draughtsmanship. As a painter in oils 
to Bayreuth he was more commonplace, though no less accomplished. 

The von Hofmanns frequently supped at the Zoo, in the 
most fashionable restaurant there, or, indeed, in Berlin, when 
dea r old economical Frau von Hofmann would bring food 
for us all; we would sit at a table, brilliant with glass and 
silver, and beer would be ordered, while the Frau Excellenzin 
drew forth from her basket belegtes brodchen and other such 
delicacies. In those days such things could be done in Berlin 
— by Excellencies. 

The von Hofmanns and the Kekules were close friends of 
Cosima Wagner, whose son, Siegfried, entreated von Hof- 
mann and myself to pay them a visit at Bayreuth after we 
returned from Rugen. I looked for Bayreuth in the German 
Bradshaw, found that it was a long way from Berlin, and a 
biggish fare, and made excuses. Bayreuth to one so un- 
musical as myself meant nothing. When I returned home, 
and told my parents of this invitation, they were amazed and 
indignant. How stupid I was ! Of course they would have 
been only too willing to pay my expenses. 

But we had a marvellous summer at Rugen; fine weather, 
and much work done. So beautiful was the landscape that 
if, on rare occasions, we saw an uninteresting effect, we used 
to shake hands in mutual congratulation — a momentary re- 
spite from ecstacy ! 




I N October I returned to Paris. At Julian’s during my Charles Conder 
first day some students were looking over a brown-paper 
sketch book I had filled during the summer. They were 
joined by a blond, rather heavily-built man, blue-eyed, 
bearded, with long hair parted in the middle and falling over 
his eyes. Later he came up to me and said kind things about 
the drawings. He spoke with a soft voice, and walked with a 
peculiar, rather shuffling gait. There was something oddly 
attractive about him. I saw the drawing he was doing, which 
was not very capable. After work that day we lunched to- 
gether. He was an Englishman, he said, but had been sent 
out as a youth to Australia, where at first he had led an 
adventurous life in the Bush as a surveyor; later he had done 
drawings for newspapers, and finally he had become a painter. 

His name was Charles Conder. I felt a little shy with him; 
he knew so much more of the world than I did, or, I thought, 
than did any of my friends. We continued to meet at Julian’s. 

He was living in Montmartre, a part of Paris then unknown 
to me. He took me to see his work, pale panels of flowers, 
and blonde Australian landscapes; a litde weak and faded in 
colour, I thought, but with a delicate charm of their own. 

His studio contained little else save a divan covered with fine 
Indian materials — soft white muslins, with faint primrose 
and rose-coloured stains. Other muslins hung across the 
windows. Whistler, he said, was his favourite painter, and 
with him Puvis de Chavannes. He read me verses from 


and antipathies 

Omar Khayyam, then entirely new to me. I was enchanted 
by the boldness of the verses as well as by their beauty. 
Disbelief can claim close kinship with religious convictions; 
for doubt too comes from the gods, opening out shining new 
vistas, inspiring as those of a new faith. In Conder I also 
found an ardour for Browning which equalled my own. He 
talked to me of Ibsen, of whose plays I knew nothing, and 
of Janet Achurch, whom he had known in Australia, and of 
her wonderful acting in The Doll’s House. I had not yet 
met anyone who was familiar with actors and actresses, and 
there, in his studio, was a beautiful photograph of Miss 
Achurch, signed by her hand and with his name on it. I was 
fascinated, but also a little disquieted, by his suggestive and 
oddly wandering talk. His painting too grew on me. But 
lovely colour meant less to me than good drawing, and 
strength and shrewd observation more than charm. There 
was no doubt, however, that Conder had unusual gifts. With 
an outlook in art so different from mine, it surprised me he 
cared, as he seemed to do, for my drawings. What impressed 
me most was his faculty for seeing quality and romance in 
people and things that I would pass by. 

Studd, too, admired Conder’ s work, but was a little sus- 
picious of his influence, and was inclined to dissuade me from 
seeing too much of him. But Conder seemed to have singled 
me out as a friend; and when he pressed me to join him at 
Montmartre, the idea of sharing a real studio was a formid- 
able temptation. The left bank was very well for poets and 
scholars, but Montmartre was essentially the artists’ quarter. 
Puvis de Chavannes had a studio on the Place Pigalle, while 
Alfred Stevens lived close by, and in the rue Victor Masse 
lived Degas. At Montmartre also were the Nouvelle Athenes 
and the Pere Lathuille, where Manet, Zola, Pissarro and 
Monet, indeed, all the original Impressionists, used to meet. 
The temptation, therefore, to cross the river and live on the 
heights was too strong to resist. So I left my beautiful Em- 
pire room, and my safe, solid friends for a land unknown. 
I was only seventeen years old, and though in many ways 

timid by nature, I had a blind faith in my star. Dangerous 
things might happen to other people, but somehow I should 
be protected. 

The rue Ravignan lies above the Place Pigalle and the 
Boulevard de Clichy. At the top of the street is an irregular 
open space, bounded on the north by a flight of steps and 
railings, just below which are the studios. Above the steps 
was the pavilion of an eighteenth-century country house; 
beyond lay old quiet streets, scattered villas with deserted 
gardens and terrains vogues. In a low, rambling building, 
which probably still exists (I went there some years later 
with Augustus John to call on Picasso), were the studios, 
mere wooden sheds with large windows; but great was my 
pride at working in any place which could so be called. 

Sharing a workroom was not, however, without grave 
drawbacks. Conder’s personality proved very attractive to 
ladies; I found myself often in the way; there were difficulties 
which led to quarrels, soon mended but often repeated. 

I had not been long in Montmartre, however, when Phil 
May arrived from Australia. He had made his name, and 
some money too, as a cartoonist on The Sydney Bulletin', but 
he wanted to improve his drawing, and at the same time 
carry on fresh work for The St Stephen’s Review , an illustrated 
London weekly long extinct. Conder had known May in 
Australia; so had Longstaff, an Australian painter with a 
charming wife, then struggling to keep a roof over their heads 
at Montmartre. Phil May and his wife were living in an 
apartment at Puteaux. To us May seemed a man of wealth, 
who could afford all the models he needed. He hoped to do 
other work besides illustration, even to paint. May being ex- 
tremely modest and having been so long away from Europe, 
thought more of my drawings than they deserved. He pressed 
me to share a studio with him, where he could come and 
work from time to time. He would, of course, pay half the 
rent, and would be delighted to have me share his models. 
One of the studios in the rue Ravignan was to let, and he 
proposed I should take it. Conder must have been as anxious 


Arrival of 
Phil May 

New quarters to get rid of me as I was to have a studio of my own. A camp- 
bed, a wooden table and two beautiful Louis XVI chairs (I 
had bought them near by for six francs each !), some draperies 
I had from Liberty’s, and a cheap stove, sufficed for furniture. 
Such a stove, with its inside chimney fixed high up in the 
wall, was usual in every French studio. Delacroix painted a 
similar stove in a comer of his, and Degas and Forain have 
made it familiar in many pastels and drawings. The rent was 
modest — 400 francs a year. Phil May in fact made little use 
of the studio; his failing was already noticeable, and the in- 
fluence of Conder, who shared it, was detrimental to regular 
work. Poor Mrs May was often in despair. Phil somehow 
managed each week to get his weekly drawings done for The 
St Stephens Review , and sometimes he sketched at night in 
cafes and cafe-concerts , but he did little else. There was no 
vice in him. He had a touchingly simple and affectionate 
character, but unfortunately he wasted himself and his means 
on a crowd of worthless strangers, who settled round his 
table like flies ; while his terrible weakness for drink sapped 
his will and his physical strength. 

May was illustrating a serial called The Parson and the 
Painter , for The St Stephen’s Review, and later Whistler used 
to pretend that the figure of the parson was taken from me, 
and always called me ‘ the Parson ’ in consequence. Whistler 
praised Phil May’s drawings very highly, a little to my sur- 
prise; for though I admired their precision and felicity, they 
did not seem to me to be in the same rank with those of 
Charles Keene and Forain. 

Julian had recently opened a branch of his school in the 
rue Fontaine at Montmartre; Charles Duvent and several of 
my friends came there to work. Moreover, being no longer 
a ‘nouveau’, I found it much easier to make new friends. 
Montmartre, which of recent years has become a lure for 
Russian emigrants and foreign tourists, was, in the early 
’nineties, essentially French. 

At the rue Ravignan I found Henri Royer and Lomont, 
whom I had known slightly at Julian’s; Royer, who came 


from Nancy, was a friend and pupil of another Nancy painter, Le Rat Mort 
fimile Friant, already well known as a careful and capable 
artist. Royer, Friant, Duvent, Louis Picard, and Major 
Charvot, a retired army doctor, with a passion for painting, 
lunched together at a restaurant on the Place Pigalle — le Rat 
Mort, where I often joined them. The Rat Mort by night had 
a somewhat doubtful reputation, but during the day was fre- 
quented by painters and poets. As a matter of fact it was a 
notorious centre of lesbianism, a matter of which, being very 
young, and a novice to Paris, I knew nothing. But this gave 
the Rat Mort an additional attraction to Conder and Lautrec. 

It was there that I first met Toulouse-Lautrec, Anquetin and 
Ldouard Dujardin. Friant, a bachelor of austere habits, who 
had a studio on the Boulevard de Clichy, was a meticulous 
and orderly painter, and though his work was somewhat cold 
and literal, I greatly respected his deliberate thoroughness. 

During the three years I was to stay in Paris, we continued 
on intimate terms. 

To the Rat Mort there often came the Belgian painter, 

Alfred Stevens, a magnificent old ruin, broad-shouldered, 
white-haired, with a fine head and a powerful frame still erect 
in spite of his years. He was charming to young people, often 
taking us across to his studio close by in the rue Alfred 
Stevens (named after him), where he showed us his pictures. 

Poor Alfred Stevens ! he had been one of the great figures of 
the Second Empire; all the great ladies of that glittering 
period had passed through his studio. A great lover of 
women, he had lived splendidly, earning largely; he had been 
wildly extravagant and although he had once owned a whole 
street, he was now reduced to living in a modest atelier and 
a couple of rooms. More unfortunate still, he had debts, and 
was driven to paint numbers of small pictures for dealers. 

His instinct was for highly-wrought painting, for precious 
and delicately handled pigment. Still, everyone treated ‘le 
Pere Stevens’ with great respect, for not only had he been a 
great figure, but he had been a great painter as well. All that 
remained of the treasures he had lavishly collected was a small 


Le Pete picture "which he told us was by Holbein, the portrait of a 
Stevens man, dean-shaved, against a green background. He would 
fetch it out, and drawing aside a little curtain which pro- 
tected the surface, he would say each time: ‘ We are going to 
see whether his beard has grown over-night,’ so living did 
he feel this work to be. One day he climbed up to the rue 
Ravignan to see my drawings. Le pere Stevens was a great 
talker and it was a privilege to hear him hold forth in his 
powerful old voice on the Flemish masters, or to hear his 
comments on contemporary painters. He had a particular 
dislike for Carriere’s work — T1 peint comme un cochon, cet 
homme-la’ — but he was the first French painter whom I 
heard give high praise to Whistler. The distance between 
eminent French artists and youngsters was much less in 
Paris, I fancy, than it was in London, where, forty years ago, 
Academicians were regarded as high Olympian figures. 

The luncheon at the Rat Mort cost two francs, which was 
rather a large sum for me, and towards the middle of the 
month I was driven as a rule to lunch at more modest 
restaurants. There were many such at Montmartre, frequented 
by working-men, cabmen, and by struggling painters and 
poets, and by women of the quarter. In one of these, kept by 
a good, stout lady named Madame Bataille, close to the rue 
Ravignan, we got excellent peaspudding, and there was al- 
ways fresh, creamy cheese. Another small restaurant, where 
the lunch cost little more than a franc, was a favourite resort 
of Steinlen and Leandre. Steinlen was already making his 
name as an illustrator, but was still very poor. There was a 
natural gentleness, with a strain of melancholy, in his cha- 
racter, perhaps not unexpected in the illustrator of Bruant 
and of the sinister characters of the exterior Boulevards; when 
some years later I met George Gissing, he put me in mind of 
Steinlen; there was a strong physical, as well as a spiritual, 
likeness between the two. Leandre, then an obscure and 
struggling painter, amused himself by drawing caricatures of 
his friends after dinner; but he had not yet thought of be- 
coming a professional caricaturist. Later he wisely gave up 

6 o 

painting and won fame, and fortune too I hope, with his 
caricatures in Le Rire. He was a charming fellow, gay and 
amusing, of whom Conder and I were very fond. 

Conder felt himself more in sympathy with Frenchmen 
than with his own countrymen; he had a natural under- 
standing for the genius of French art, especially for the art of 
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, which was begin- 
ning to have a marked effect on his outlook. He greatly ad- 
mired Cheret’s posters, then enlivening the Paris hoardings 
and kiosks, and Willette’s drawings and paintings. Even 
when he came under Anquetin’s influence he never ceased to 
admire Willette’s wall-painting of the Moulin de la Galette, 
with its marionette-like figures, Pierrots and Pierrettes whirl- 
ing round the sails of the mill, at a certain cafe — I knew it 
well, but the name now escapes me — a cafe presided over by 
a brother of Rudolph Salis. Willette was a refined and witty 
draughtsman, the creator of the contemporary Pierrot, a kind 
of Montmartre Watteau, careless of fame and money, with 
something of Murger’s faithfulness to la vie de Boheme. 
Maurice Donnay and Xanrof were also familiar figures at 
Montmartre; they were to be met with constantly at the 
famous Chat Noir, where Rudolph Salis ruled over a tiny 
republic of poets, where they improvised and recited witty 
poems. Charles de Sivry, Verlaine’s brother-in-law, provided 
the music. Close by was Aristide Bruant’s Cabaret — Aris- 
tide, what a name 1 It will always be associated in my mind 
with a swaggering, massive figure, a broad-brimmed hat, 
blue-black hair, piercing, sombre eyes, and a cloak, a red 
muffler and top boots. Bruant was the poet of the exterior 
boulevard, of the Paris stews, of the bully and the harlot. 
People flocked to his cafe to hear him sing his sinister songs 
— sing is scarcely the word, he shouted them in a rough 
harsh voice, while he walked up and down the floor. Inci- 
dentally he made his hearers pay handsomely for their con- 
sommations. To us artists he liked to play the generous host, 
and in Lautrec’s company one was sure of a welcome. 
Lautrec’s poster of Bruant is now famous. Then there was 

6 1 

Willette and 
the Chat Noir 

Montmartre Riviere’s Marche a V Atoile, a beautiful little shadow play, 
nights at the Chat Noir. Can anyone wonder that youths like 
Conder and myself were fascinated by this strange and vivid 
life? To Conder it meant more, even, than to me; for it was 
in the night life of Paris that he found a great part of his 
inspiration. He found it too in the flowering orchards and 
the white cliffs of Normandy — a contrast indeed ! 

No place gave Conder so much as the Moulin Rouge. 
Here was an open-air cafe-concert, where one could watch 
people sitting and walking under coloured lamps and under 
the stars. Inside the great dancing hall, its walls covered with 
mirrors, he loved to study the crowds of men and women, 
moving round and round. Above all, there was the dancing 
of the cancan. Since those days much has been written about 
the dancers of the Moulin — the strange, forbidding figure of 
Valentin, hollow-eyed, hollow-cheeked, with his flat- 
brimmed, tall hat and his emaciated frame clad in an ungainly 
frock-coat and tight, wrinkled trousers ; and La Goulue, Nini 
Pattes-en-l’air, and Rayon d’Or, and the rest of Zidler’s ex- 
travagant pensioners. In most places dancers performed on 
a stage; at the Moulin they mixed with the crowd, or sat at 
tables and drank with admirers and friends. Then suddenly 
the band would strike up, and they formed a set in the middle 
of the floor, while a crowd gathered closely round them. It 
was a strange dance; a sort of quadrille, •with Valentin and 
the other men twisting their legs into uncouth shapes, making 
gross gestures with hands and arms opposite their partners, 
their partners in the attitude of Vishnu, one leg on the ground, 
the other raised almost vertically, previous to the sudden 
descent — le grand ecart. The most notorious of the women 
was La Goulue, an arresting blonde, short and plump, with 
a handsome, insolent face. She wore her yellow hair piled 
on top of her head, with a thick, low fringe and curling love 
locks, and a black ribbon tied round a full, strong throat. She 
was always bare-headed, while Rayon d’Or — surely a splendid 
name for a woman — tall and hard-featured, wore an enor- 
mous open-work hat on her bright red hair. Nini Pattes-en- 

6 2 


l’air was small and light on her feet; Grille d’figout and La Painting the 
Mome Fromage were more than usually canaille , but skilful Moulin 
performers, while to me the single attractive figure was 
Jeanne Avril, called La Folle, a wild, Botticelli-like creature, 
perverse but intelligent, whose madness for dancing induced 
her to join this strange company. Conder painted many pic- 
tures of these dancers, in their foamy lace, black stockings 
and flaming skirts. He went almost nightly to watch them. 

I still remember the night when, Conder, May and I having 
drunk more than was good for us, Conder proposed we 
should each paint, there and then, a picture of the Moulin; 
and the wild results I remember, too, when we saw them in 
the cold morning light. It was at the Moulin that we became 
familiar with three habitues , Lautrec, Anquetin and fidouard 

Toulouse-Lautrec and Anquetin were at this time the two 
leaders among the younger independent painters. Anquetin, 
of whom great things were expected — he was looked on as 
the most gifted and promising of the group that founded the 
Salon des Independants — was a man of magnificent physique. 

Broad-chested, with a powerful head and crown of thick, 
tufted hair, strong neck and ruddy complexion and a broken 
nose, he put one in mind at once of Michael Angelo. He 
was then doing striking pastels of men and women, vigorously 
coloured and amply drawn. They recalled the later work of 
Manet, -with something of the Italian primitives. He made 
superb studies of the nude, and was probably the best 
equipped among the younger artists of the time. He was a 
profound student of the Louvre. Beginning as a naturalistic 
painter, he gradually became absorbed in the methods of 
Rubens, Poussin and Delacroix. Among the first to revive 
an understanding of baroque art, he was himself a baroque 
artist, unfortunately both after and before his time, with 
something of the superhuman nature of a character from 
Balzac. It was in part owing to Anquetin that Daumier was 
finally recognised as one of the supreme artists of the nine- 
teenth century. Quietly sure of his own powers, physically 


The art of and intellectually he moved among us all with a certain aloof- 
Arujuetin ness and proud indifference, his superiority tacitly acknow- 
ledged by all who knew him. If a visitor wished to see what 
he was doing he would point towards piles of canvases 
leaning against the walls and say: ‘Look at anything you 
wish.’ He saw so much more of what was needed to make 
a great artist than did any of us, and was arrogantly indifferent 
about his own work. It was for his conceptions, and his 
understanding of great painting, that he most valued his own 
gifts; his paintings and pastels were to him merely counters 
representing values known to himself alone. Like the artist 
in Balzac’s Chef d’ (Euvre Inconnu. he became more and 
more absorbed in this inner vision. He had no great admira- 
tion for contemporary painting, believing that we had lost 
our way, and could only find it again by returning to the 
methods of the great masters. Meanwhile, like Lautrec, he 
had a searching eye for character, and chose for his models 
women who frequented places like the Moulin Rouge and 
the Moulin de la Galette. A study of one of these women, a 
pastel, hanging in the Tate Gallery, gives a good idea of the 
character of Anquetin’s slighter work at this period. 

Closely associated with Anquetin was Toulouse-Lautrec. 
There was nothing romantic about Lautrec. He was a frank, 
indeed a brutal, cynic. Human weaknesses lay naked and un- 
protected before his eyes. While he had a sincere respect for 
genius, for men and women themselves and for their ways he 
had none. Endowed with a keen intellect, he was quick to 
recognise intellectual gifts in others, but while he believed in 
the true and the beautiful, for the good he had neither belief 
nor understanding. Poor Lautrec I He was bom un d e r an 
unpropitious star. Dropped by his nurse while a baby, he 
had suffered arrest in the growth of his arms and legs, while 
his head and body were disproportionately large. With a 
broad forehead, fine and extremely intelligent eyes, he had 
lips of a starding scarlet, turned as it were outwards, and 
strangely wide, which gave a hideous expression to his face— 
a dwarf of Velazquez, with the genius of a Callot. Where 


Conder saw in the Moulin and its dancers a glowing shim- 
mering dream of Arabian Nights, Lautrec's unpitying eyes 
noted only the sinister figures of fille and souteneur , of de- 
generate and waster. A descendant of one of the noblest 
families of France, since he could not live in the social world 
to which he belonged, he would at least not deceive himself 
and others about the company in which he chose to spend his 
life. Balzac wrote that the artist, like the physician, must be 
regarded, in his search for truth, as being above suspicion. 
Lautrec explored a society which even a physician hesitates 
to enter — an underworld whose existence is more frankly 
acknowledged in France than in England. In La Fille Elisa, 
Edmond de Goncourt had already probed deeply into the life 
of a prostitute; but no artist has ever shown so brutally, so 
remorselessly, as Lautrec, the crude ugliness of the brothel. 
Nor can I imagine anyone else ready to face what Lautrec did 
in order to get material for his studies. He seemed proof 
against any shock to his feelings, and he deemed others 
equally indifferent. He wanted to take me to see an execu- 
tion; another time, he was enthusiastic about operations per- 
formed before clinical students, and pressed me to join him 
at the hospital. I did often go with him to the Cirque Fer- 
nando, a circus then established at Montmartre, which Lautrec 
used to visit assiduously, as he did the Moulin Rouge and 
less reputable places. 

One evening Lautrec came up to the rue Ravignan to tell 
us about a new singer, a friend of Xanrof, who was to appear 
at the Moulin Rouge for the first time. Anquetin, Dujardin, 
Victor Jose, and some others were coming, and he wanted us 
to join them to give her a good send off; she was intelligent, 
not ordinary, and might easily fail to please a public fed on 
Paulus. Besides, she was to come on early, and the early 
turns were given to sparsely filled seats. We went; a young 
girl appeared, of virginal aspect, slender, pale, without rouge. 
Her songs were not virginal — on the contrary; but the fre- 
quenters of the Moulin were not easily frightened; they 
stared bewildered at this novel association of innocence with 


Lautrec 9 s 



Yvette Xanrof’s horrific double entente ; stared, stayed and broke 
Guilberis into delighted applause. Her success was immediate; crowds 
debut came nightly to the Moulin to hear her, and the name of 
Yvette Guilbert became famous in a week. Later she went 
to the Divan Japonais, where Lautrec was able to watch her 
more closely; he was very much alive to the piquancy of her 
appearance and her rendering of the songs she chose. It 
amused Lautrec to find formulas for a person’s appearance, 
which he reduced to the simplest expression ; he had one for 
Rodin, another for Degas, and one, as cruel as any, for him- 
self. But, for some perverse reason, his drawings of Yvette 
were among the most savage he ever made. 

Nearly forty years afterwards — going to see Yvette in her 
dressing room after one of her recitals in London, I reminded 
her of her first appearance that night at the Moulin. She 
looked quite starded to hear again of Lautrec and Willette — 
‘mais ils sont tous morts,’ she said, in a tragic voice. Yvette 
herself remains the great artist she was, but with something 
ampler and richer in her interpretations. But it was not easy 
to recognise in the stately matron the slim little chiffonee 
Yvette of the Moulin. 

The lithographs Lautrec afterwards made of circus life are 
perhaps the most remarkable of the records he has left. He 
regarded Degas as his master, but he looked on Puvis de 
Chavannes as the greatest living artist. The single picture on 
his studio walls was a large photograph of Puvis’ Bois 
sacre. In starding opposition to this were a huge Priapic 
emblem over his door, and an immense divan placed against 
the wall. Lautrec undoubtedly deserves a niche to himself in 
late nineteenth-century art. It is futile to assign the place an 
artist is likely to take in the future. There are fashions in 
immortality as there are trivial fashions. Some men may be 
called life-classics. To say that an artist’s work will live is not 
to say that its life will be constant. Some works have an 
inherent beauty and energy which may remain latent over 
long periods, but are able to blossom again in the warmth of 
renewed understanding. This later flowering may look very 


f CP 



















f— i 











+— i 















different to men’s eyes from the original bloom. Books and The making 
pictures read differently to different generations. Shakespeare of classics 
is not the same to us, neither on the stage nor in our studies, 
as he was to the Elizabethans. It is not likely that every 
generation will have the taste that we have for certain aspects 
of life. To-day we incline, in our judgment of art, to make 
saints of sinners and sinners of saints; our taste is for works 
that are intense rather than profound. Not for a moment 
would Lautrec have claimed equality with men like Degas or 
Puvis de Chavannes, nor had he the puissant hand or great 
mind of a Daumier. But with his misanthropy and his per- 
sonal excesses, he had the spirit of an epicure — he saw the 
artistic r efin ement of many revolting elements of human life. 

In his drawings, his paintings, his posters and lithographs 
there is a nervous refinement of design, a crisp sensitiveness 
of contour, the fruit of his discernment and daring. Both 
Lautrec and Anquetin recognised the loveliness of Conder’s 
paintings. Conder was, indeed, becoming one of the notables 
of Montmartre. Though his French was inaccurate and vague 
as his painting, like his painting it revealed a rich and dis- 
cerning mind. 



Three artists T, like Conder, was destined to die early, a victim 
I—' of dissolute habits. Very different characters, all three of 
them wise and sober youths, were Bonnard, Lomont and 
Vuillard, this last a gentle creature with a fierce red beard, 
whom I first met at the Coquelins’. Lomont had a very tender 
and beautiful nature. With fair hair, blue eyes and slight fair 
whiskers, he looked the typical French painter or poet of the 
’thirties. He painted tranquil and intimate interiors. Bonnard 
was not yet painting interiors, he was doing work which was 
influenced by Cher et, and by J apanese prints. For j ust as there 
was later a movement towards the cube, towards exaggerated 
volumes, so at this time a new interest in the primitives, and 
the vogue for the Japanese print, led to a flattening of tones 
and a hardening of contours. Full modelling appeared almost 
vulgar. ‘ Jamais je ne voterai pour un homme qui sait modeler 
un ceuil, 5 Manet was reported to have said when he had 
abandoned his early solid matiere for a lighter vehicle. This 
simplified approach was, in many cases, a mere form ula. True 
simplification comes after the gradual shedding of much one 
would like to retain; it is a radiant fullness, from which need- 
less detail has been removed. Simplicity is the final candour 
of things. 

The Japanese print cut across the sound French tradition 
of la bonne peinture, away from the luminous and nacreous 
handling of Chardin and Watteau. Most of us were seduced 


by this novelty, which, incidentally, led us away from the Influence of 

pursuit of form. We thought flat pictures more ‘ artistic ’ than Japanese art 

solidly painted ones; Gauguin and Seurat had shown new 

and exciting canvases of this sort, and the younger painters, 

ignoring the trend of a true painter like Renoir, were doing 

work halfway between the primitives and the Japanese. But 

there was an empty simplicity that was merely baldness; the 

effect of poverty of invention or affectation. 

Anquetin foresaw the menace of alien influences, and re- 
turned to the great European tradition of painting. But others, 
like Vuillard, Maurice Denis and Bonnard (Matisse was then 
doing quite pedestrian work), never attained the solid prac- 
tice of older men like Degas, Renoir and Fantin-Latour, and 
were among the first to show signs of the decline that was 
to infect French painting. French culture flourished while it 
remained true to itself, an essentially French self. While 
French painters were too absorbed in their work to trouble 
about alien cultures all was well; but when they began to 
turn towards strange gods from the East and from Africa, 
weakness came on them. The twentieth century was to see 
the disappearance of that probity which was the glory of 
nineteenth-century French painters ; while a limited objective, 
with a certain success, which enables painters to supply 
picture-dealers with canvases in such quantities, was to take 
the place of the far-reaching achievement of the older 

Gauguin, a friend of Toulouse-Lautrec, was then working 
in Brittany. When later I passed his house at Pont-Aven, on 
the door of which he had carved some strange, primitive 
figures, I found it shut up; he had gone to Tahiti. 

Edouard Dujardin, a Wagner propagandist, and associated 
with the symbolist movement in literature, was a close friend 
of Anquetin and of Toulouse-Lautrec, and a frequenter of 
Montmartre. How much better off he was than most of us 
I cannot say, but he had the appearance and manners of a 
French dandy. With full brown beard and eye-glass, well- 
cut clothes and spotless linen, he looked a figure apart; indeed, 


Le Moulin 
de la Galette 

he was a figure apart from his kind, and associated with 
painters more than with writers and poets. He was some- 
thing of an Anglophile, and he and Conder became fast 
friends — a friendship which was destined to become clouded. 
From Duiardin I first heard of George Moore. 

After the quiet and sheltered life at the rue de Beaune, 
the Montmartre days ran into many late nights.. Happily, 
young people can stand late hours without any serious effects 
on their health or work. I was up early enough m the 
morning, however late to bed. The Moulin Rouge, with its 
dancers, was a constant source of inspiration to Conder; to 
me it was not; but a sense that I was somehow very close to 
life in these places took me often there, as well as to t e 
Moulin de la Galette, a more plebeian dancing hall little 
known to strangers, frequented only by the working-girls 
and youths of the quarter. The Moulin Rouge was full of 
colour, this other Moulin had a dark and dusty interior. The 
quarter of Montmartre where it stood had in fact an evil 
reputation, and knives and pistols were sometimes in use. 
Much of the life of the quarter was indeed repellent, un- 
natural and rather frightening, but I affected indifference and 
the ways of a person thoroughly seasoned to adventure and 
to the company of shady people. Goethe says somewhere 
that young men of spirit are apt for a time to turn their backs 
on their true selves, to which they are bound to return later. 
It is true that youth loves to masquerade in mind as in body ; 
but I had been pitchforked into a society more abnormal than 


It is the fashion at present to scoff at any association of 
morality with art. It is true that an artist often puts his best self 
into his work, and in active life may show the weaker side of 
his nature. Theoretically, art and morals are undoubtedly two 
different things. Whether there are golden threads running 
through the warp and woof of the fabric of life which, when 
seen from afar, form a moral pattern, is matter of eternal 
dispute among poets and philosophers. But although the 
reality of this pattern has been questioned by some, its re- 


cognition by human eyes is of great practical value. A strong Morals and art 
man is likely to regard anything which weakens his will as 
immoral. It is not perhaps so much a moral as a practical 
question. Renoir, Cezanne, Whistler, Degas, Puvis de Cha- 
vannes, Fantin-Latour, all lived to practise their art to a ripe 
age. Many of the younger artists I knew died before they 
could develop their powers to fruition. They wasted their 
strength in drink and other excesses. The night life at Mont- 
martre, which mesmerised so many of us, was stupidly futile. 

Men fished for women, and women for men, in muddy water, 
and drink was the bait they used. 

We looked to the older men, of course, for guidance. The 
days were not yet when it was the fashion to over-estimate the 
work of our own generation. But our battle on their behalf 
was not yet won. Their artistic integrity was still challenged 
by most people. The official Salon remained, like the Royal 
Academy, the focus of popular interest. Manet’s Olympe 
was about to be bought, in the teeth of furious opposition, 
for the Louvre. At Durand-Ruel’s, paintings which now fill 
the European galleries and the great private collections, on 
which vast sums are now spent, could be purchased forty 
years ago for a very few thousand francs. Old Monsieur 
Durand-Ruel, his son and assistants, would always allow us 
artists to indulge in their treasures. Most of the work of the 
older generation of Impressionists passed through their hands. 

Their gallery, between the rue le Pelletier and the rue Lafitte, 
was to me a kind of second Louvre. 

In the meanwhile I was working at Julian’s, where my 
aims were somewhat confused. If there was the incredible 
draughtsmanship of Ingres and Degas, was there not Whist- 
ler’s as well, which with less knowledge and skill achieved 
results which seemed to me equal to theirs? Puvis himself 
was a naive and somewhat clumsy draughtsman, and I saw 
that for all their dexterity Meissonnier, Carolus Duran and 
Bonnat, men of great abilities, were far inferior to painters of 
genius like Puvis and Whistler. It was my misfortune that, 
compared with Conder and other of my friends, I appeared 


The making to be a fairly efficient draughtsman; but my drawing was far 
of an artist from being thorough, and I wish that someone had taken me 
to task and shown me what knowledge and skill, how much 
will-power and intense application, are needed to make a 
good artist. But many young men were in like case. We were 
living then, as we are now, at a time of shifting standards. 
Capable work that was unintelligent and lacking in any sense 
of beauty was rightly condemned; but we were too apt to 
believe that an interesting contour and liveliness of handling 
condoned other shortcomings. On the other hand, to distrust 
the pretentious and showy Salon picture was sound. At least 
the men I was with were trying to say what they meant in 
their painting. 

Whereas in England Whistler’s disciples, the youthful elite, 
cared little for either Morris or Burne-Jones, the younger 
French painters, among them Lautrec, Seurat and Gauguin, 
all revered Puvis de Chavannes. For Puvis, while profoundly 
influenced by both the Greeks and the early Italians, brought 
a fresh vision to bear on the contemporary world. His mural 
paintings at the Pantheon and the Sorbonne, his Pauvre 
Pecheur at the Luxembourg, were accepted as classics during 
his lifetime. I remember the enthusiasm with which his de- 
corations, E Ete and L’Hiver , for the Hotel de Ville were 
received when they were shown at the Champs de Mars. 
Puvis’ work had the flavour of naivety, both of form and 
design, which we were beginning to relish. Gauguin and 
Van Gogh were to insist still more on the primitive, on the 
passionate, element in painting, which modern refinement, 
they believed, must destroy. But this insistence on a parti- 
cular and partial aspect of painting had not yet emerged; the 
older men like Puvis were able to relate to the whole their 
preoccupation with the parts. Although not aware of it then, 
we were seeing the last of the heroes. It was the swan-song 
of an epoch when discipline and genius went lovingly arm in 
arm. I was to see them parted, alas I and coldly estranged; and 
although there are some whose interest it is to keep them 
apart, as is always the case in quarrels, and others who side 


with the one, or with the other, yet their mutual interest, An epoch’s 
their ancient, deep need of each other, will once more unite close 
those true, lusty lovers, if not to-day, then to-morrow, or, 
surely, soon after. 

I doubt if I foresaw this estrangement; nor was I aware 
of the practice necessary to become a good artist. When I saw 
pictures like Manet’s Olympe , or Degas’ Lefon de Danse , 
or Fantin-Latour’s portrait group in the Luxembourg, I did 
not ask myself whether I was preparing myself for such 
efforts as theirs; I blindly took it for granted that, since I 
belonged to the advanced school, all would be well. 

While Conder had a natural gift for expressing the charm 
and radiance of women, my inclination was in the direction 
of character. I probably made myself a nuisance by bothering 
all my friends to sit to me for drawings. With these I filled 
many sketch books. I made them not only during the day, 
but also on most evenings in the cafes wherever we met. 

Conder worked largely from memory, and the time we spent 
in places like the Moulin Rouge was, for his purpose, well 
spent. For me it was largely wasted; for the artistic appeal, 
so strong to Conder, was slight in my case. Associating with 
men all of whom were older than myself, I was living in a 
world to which I had not really grown up. That I was also 
living, in the eyes of my soberer friends, rather perilously, 
flattered my vanity. There is a dangerous attraction in a sense 
of exile, in a feeling of separation from the herd, even in the 
disapproval of sober people; there is also a charm to be living 
in circumstances which wear a character of romance, to be 
reading Balzac and Stendhal, Barbey d’Aurevilly and Villiers 
de l’Isle-Adam, and to find oneself at supper parties among 
poets and painters and their women friends, the Esthers and 
Coralies of the day. The time was not yet when artists found 
easy companionship among women who belonged to their 
own social circle; moreover, something unusual in dress and 
appearance will always quicken the interest of artists; and 
since breadth and radiance of form move an artist deeply, his 
model, to whatever class she belongs, once she is sitting, is 


Search for near to perfection. That artists often find their inspiration in 
beauty men and women at whom the world looks askance does not 
mean that they are unaware of the fine qualities of tact and 
conduct of women of delicate breeding. There is also this to 
be said: men like Conder are able to see in women whom 
others would pass by, elements of profound beauty; and 
by making these women more aware of their beauty they are 
able to bring them a new and joyful pride in what they 
themselves have to give. In return for such gifts of beauty 
Conder was a spendthrift of time. Often he would disappear 
for days, and his paints and brushes would lie idle. Then in 
pressing need, he would emerge, and panels would be pro- 
duced to be turned into bread and butter. The metamorphosis 
was not always easily accomplished. So sometimes he sat 
alone; for Aline has her rent to pay and Yvonne needs pretty 

I was often called upon for sympathy when Conder was 
in difficulties. Sober men are, alas, poor comforters, and 
sorry companions for men crowned with vine leaves. ‘ Will, 
don’t look so sensible,’ said Oscar Wilde one evening, as I sat 
with him and Conder and Max at the Cafe Royal. I looked 
too often at my watch; perhaps a sitter was waiting, and 
Conder’s dreamy eyes would become mocking. e Oh, Will, 
do stay; the Bird of Time has but a litde way to flutter, and 
the Bird is on the wing.’ But sensible at bottom I was. The 
wine that was red did not call up visions in me as it did in 
Conder. So I used to say that half my friends disapproved 
of me because I sat with wine bibbers, and the other half 
because I did not drink. 

Poor Phil May got little from looking into the cup. With 
him it was but a stupefying and pernicious habit, which gave 
him nothing save headache and remorse.. Though Conder 
knew that his terrible infatuation would one day destroy him, 
it did at least set free in him a thousand fancies; his mirrl wa s 
never more fertile than it was a Vheure verte . Rather sleepy 
and tongue-tied in these early days, when prompted by wine 
he became radiant, joyous and talkative. He could give en- 


chanting expression to fantastic and lovely ideas, which ran Wild oats 

through his brain; and when we had quarrelled he knew very 

well how to win me back. There was a strong feminine strain 

in his nature, soft and feline. When he was away he wrote 

letters which, in their wandering way, were as charming as 

his talk. He talked much to me about style, and counted, 

then and afterwards, for much in my imaginative education. 

How many poor things to my eyes seemed possessed of 
style — precisely that which they lacked ! I can understand the 
attraction for youngsters to-day of such deceptive work. 

I imitated Louis Legrand, Lunel,even the German Schlittgen. 

Youngsters naturally sow their artistic wild oats. Looking at 
old sketch books it is easy to see what influence had taken 
possession of me. The old Slade copies of Michael Angelo, 

Leonardo and Diirer had left no traces. Conder was always 
trying to influence me in the direction of a romantic, sug- 
gestive manner of drawing, admirably suited to his tempera- 
ment, but foreign to mine. He never aimed at precision of 
form, and had little natural power of constructive drawing; 
he had, however, a fine sense of material quality. Similarly 
with his painting: his form was weak, but he had remarkable 
gifts for composition and movement. He was able to do what 
many more accomplished artists never achieved, to make his 
figures act on paper or on canvas precisely as he wished them 
to act, like a mattre de ballet with his eager pupils. His figures 
were all playing parts, but they were parts perfectly made for 
them, and directed by Conder himself. It was this power to 
evoke an ideal world peopled with lovely figures, which I 
admired in Conder so much. 

But actual life he also saw as a dream world. He would sit 
night after night, at the Abbaye de Thel£me or the Rat Mort, 
storing his memory with scenes which afterwards served him 
well for his lithographs. Sometimes drink made him very 
quarrelsome, and more than once he got into difficulties; but 
he could never keep away from the night-life of Montmartre 
while his money lasted. I could understand the fascination 
of many of the women who frequented the night restaurants, 


Yvonne — but the men we met there were, some of them, sinister and 
and others repugnant, foolish wasters of life. But at times I, too, got a 
glimpse of the poetry which Conder extracted from this 
society of night-hawks. I can still see a beautiful young girl 
— Yvonne she was called — standing by the French window 
under the lamp-light, dressed in red, wearing a large grey hat 
with a drooping ostrich feather, tired and startlingly pale, 
against the deep blue lapis sky. And Conder himself when 
his face was flushed, his eyes bright, looked magnificent; 
though by day he looked tired and heavy-eyed. 

Yvonne, Juliette, Aline, Germaine, evennow I can visualise 
your charm and your beauty very clearly. Can it be that you 
have grown old, like others I have known since, once fair like 
you! But not having seen you again since the days of your 
careless youth, time seems to have left your comely looks 
and lovely limbs unchanged; though I know you must be 
old and wrinkled now, who were once so smooth and 

I stayed but a few months in the rue Ravignan; I found a 
more convenient studio lower down the hill, in the rue Fon- 
taine, almost opposite Julian’s. Soon after I moved, a number 
of students arrived from England, among them Walter 
Russell, William Llewellyn, Pegram, Townsend, Ronald 
Grey and Arthur Blunt. This year Roger Fry also came from 
Cambridge, where he had been at King’s College with Studd. 
He had done very little drawing; I gathered that he had 
moved chiefly in scientific and philosophical circles; but he 
had a quiet attractiveness, and he was clearly very intelligent. 
He did not stay long in Paris; he was not much of a figure 
draughtsman and he was somewhat shy and uneasy at first in 
the free atmosphere of Julian’s. He had rather the habits and 
reserve of the student, and was more at home in the quieter 
atmosphere of Cambridge and London. Lowes Dickinson, 
a man who instantly won my regard and affection, came to 
stay with Fry for a time. 

The only English students who lived in Montmartre were 
Curtis and Warrener. Warrener flung himself into the most 


advanced movements then prevalent in Paris. He usually Americans 
painted nude figures out-of-doors, set against a background in Paris 
of the shrillest chrome yellow and veridian green the colour 
merchant provided. I don’t remember his painting any other 
subjects, or working with a more subdued palette, although 
he was a keen admirer of Lautrec, who drew him more than 
once: a good portrait of him appears in one of Lautrec’s well- 
known posters. I thought Warrener would carry the chrome 
flag back to England, and lead a revolution, but he apparently 
gave up painting. He is now a distinguished citizen of Lin- 
coln, guiding public taste in his native city. 

If there were few English artists, there were many Ameri- 
cans — Alexander Harrison, Frederick Macmonnies, J. W. 

Alexander, Gari Melchers, Paul Bartlett and Walter Gay, 
were then all living in Paris. Harrison enjoyed a great 
reputation among Frenchmen. He was a plein air painter, 
and had made his name with a painting of nude figures sitting 
about among trees. To paint figures en plein air was then the 
fashion. His sea-studies were prominent features in every 
salon, and well liked. He was on intimate terms with Monet 
and Rodin, and wore the ribbon of the Legion of Honour in 
his buttonhole. I was inclined to a rather extreme attitude in 
my landscape work, though my painting was sober enough 
by the side of Warrener’s, and Harrison challenged the violet 
I used too freely in my shadows. He urged me to see things 
soberly and gave me much sound advice. I joined him once 
on a walking tour along the coast of Brittany, starting from 
Quimper and walking through Pont-Aven, then a famous 
artists’ village where Gauguin had lately worked, to Con- 
cameau. The Breton women and girls have a simple gravity 
which many years later I recognised in the faces of Indian 
peasant women, a gravity with which their dress and coiffes 
are in keeping. And how subtle are the cut and shape of the 
peasant dress ! England has shed her local costumes entirely, 
even the ordinary smock has disappeared. We are losing a 
great inheritance of beauty. But in France, and yet more in 
Germany, one stEl sees the old dresses worn. At this time 


Walking in every Breton village had its own coiffe, and both men and 
Brittany women wore the traditional dress. 

As we walked into Concameau a fleet of little fishing boats 
was coming into the harbour. Beautiful these looked, with 
their slanting sails in the evening light. It was amusing to see 
a crowd of women wade into the sea to meet the boats as they 
came into the harbour, carrying their husbands on their backs 
from the boats to the shore. Harrison was a charming com- 
panion. He spoke French perfectly and understood the 
French character. Alexander, who had recently come to 
paint portraits in Paris, was more typically American. I 
knew his work, having seen his portraits reproduced in the 
American magazines, notably one of Walt Whitman. He 
had a studio on the Boulevard Berthier, where he and his 
wife entertained. He painted life-size portraits in one or two 
sittings, very skilfully; among others he did was one of my- 
self in exchange for a pastel I made of him. He had much 
success with these portraits at the Salon du Champs de Mars; 
for the English tradition of portraiture, which American 
painters generally followed, was admired in Paris. 

A much abler painter was Anders Zorn, who lived at 
Montmartre, a genial Swede, then winning his way to fame 
as a painter and etcher. His work was coarse and literal, but 
extraordinarily skilful and well constructed. He showed me 
a little wood-carving, a head of his mother, more tender and 
sensitive than any of his painting. Zorn was a noble trencher- 
man; he rarely dined out, but meals at his table, presided over 
by Mme Zorn, were on a grand scale, as were Thaulow’s later 
at Dieppe. I marvel now at the kindness of all these men, to 
a youngster still in his teens. 

Another friend 'was Paul Bartlett, the sculptor, whose 
beautiful wife Alexander was painting. They lived outside 
Paris, at Passy, I think. Then there was Walter Gay. Both he 
and his wife were people of exceptional charm, whose house 
was full of beautiful pictures and furniture. I still saw much 
of Studd and Frazier, who had left the rue de Beaune and 
were now in the rue Madame, where Dermod O’Brien, who 


was working at Julian’s too, often joined us. Frazier had 
relations living in Paris, and he and Studd knew a good many 

To meet someone who shares one’s admirations, to un- 
pack one’s mind and have one’s convictions reinforced by a 
fresh intelligence, in short the discovery of artistic affinity, is 
a pleasure which youth alone can enjoy to the full. And in 
any company of people seemingly commonplace and unre- 
ceptive, how delicious to sit down in a comer with a woman 
of finer clay than the rest, whose sympathy flatters and 
caresses. Certain figures remain still radiant in my memory: 
Miss Hope Temple, a singer, golden-haired, who first spoke 
to me of Delius; Mile D’Anethan, distinguished-looking, 
with a finely tempered intelligence which had gained her the 
friendship of Alfred Stevens, of Puvis de Chavannes and of 
Whistler. How proud I was of her encouragement ! I re- 
collect that Puvis painted her portrait, which he exhibited 
together with one of Georges Rodenbach, a Belgian poet of 
great promise, who died young. I thought Puvis’ portraits 
beautiful, very simple, almost naive; but I have seen none 
since those early days. Besides Mile D’Anethan, Marie 
Baschkirtseff’s friend, the painter Mile Breslau, was kind and 
encouraging. So was Miss Lee Robbins, a favourite pupil of 
Carolus Duran, at whose studio I met the hyacinthine-locked 
maestro himself. Others studying painting, Miss McGinnes, 
who became Mrs Albert Herter, and Mrs Frederick Mac- 
monnies, were the centre of an attractive circle. Mrs Mac- 
monnies, herself like a Florentine portrait, was making copies 
of the newly found Botticelli frescoes in the Louvre, frescoes 
which still seem to me among Botticelli’s loveliest works. 
Other friends were the Misses Kinsella, one of whom, Miss 
Kate Kinsella (now the Marquesa Presbitero), was, and still 
is, a highly gifted painter. All three were striking looking, 
Miss Louise being one of the reigning beauties. I had the 
temerity to ask her to sit, making a Holbeinesque full-length 
portrait in pastel, and beginning a large oil painting. Later 
she sat to Whisder who could, and did, do her beauty justice. 


Women friends 
in Paris 

Louise The portrait he painted bid fair to be the most distinguished 
Kinsella work of his later years ; but, as often with his portraits, he 
scraped out, repainted, and lost his way. I thought Miss 
Kinsella one of the noblest women I had ever seen ; her placid 
and ingenuous nature gained her many devoted friends, in 
England as well as in Paris. But I was from the first aware 
that both in my drawing and painting, charm, which came 
naturally to Conder, evaded me. Conder painted a lovely 
portrait of Louise Kinsella, seated in an orchard, holding a 
bright green apple in her hand. She, with her large heart, 
tried to save Conder from habits that hurt him; but though 
he struggled hard, he could not make the sacrifices that were 
needed, and they finally trod different paths. 

TotheKinsellas’ came often Logan Pearsall Smith, a young 
American fresh from Oxford, with all the American’s interest 
in the latest phases of art and literature, and a weakness, not 
uncommonly associated with the Puritan temperament, for 
probing, a little indiscreetly, into the character and habits of 
his friends and acquaintances. In his case it -was easy to for- 
give a curiosity which incubated a fruitful delineation of the 
vagaries of human nature. With an analytical mind delighting 
in intellectual discussion, he had a true respect for die in- 
tegrity of the artist; further, he proved a generous and loyal 

And of course besides all these charming people, one had 
to endure some intolerable bores and their work, and the 
need to comment on, and admire, one canvas after another, 
pushed in front of one. There were so many men copying 
the Impressionists and Symbolists; men with little talent or 
none imagined that they were doing interesting work, when 
they lacked the ability to paint a single figure, a simple land- 
scape or a piece of still-life with the capacity of the ordinary 
student working in the ateliers. Nothing so lowers one’s 
vitality as a false relation with some other person; one can 
scarcely look a bore in the face, or find a word for one’s 
tongue; the mind becomes stagnant, the circulation slow and 
thick, as canvas after canvas is thrust before one; and then to 


be asked to say exactly ■what one thinks ! good gracious, one’s 
only thought is to rush outside into the clean air and to rid 
one’s soul of such poison. Paris was then as full of pseudo- 
geniuses as is London to-day; men angling for notice with 
sorry, pretentious bait. No kinship with these! Heaven 
forbid! With men who, fighting, fail — yes, but not with 
charlatans or self-deceivers ; their society is poisonous; bad 
spiritual food is a poison no less than bad fish or bad meat. 
Yet how pathetic these men who cling to the fringe of the 
arts ! feebly imagining, since they know in their hearts they 
can never be good artists, that somehow they may prove to 
be interesting ones. They drug themselves with the hope that 
what was done without conviction, may yet convince others. 

Conder suffered these parasites gladly. He had more 
patience perhaps, or was better-natured than I ; or maybe he 
liked someone to drink with rather than drink alone. 

The most notable personality among the Americans I met 
with in Paris was Miss Ruebell, granddaughter of a Ruebell 
who had been one of the Consuls during the Revolution. 
She was a striking figure, with her bright red hair crowning 
an expressive but unbeautiful face, her fingers and person 
loaded with turquoise stones. In face and figure she reminded 
me of Queen Elizabeth — if one can imagine an Elizabeth 
with an American accent and a high, shrill voice like a parrot’s. 
All that was distinguished in French, English and American 
society came at one time or another to her apartment in the 
Avenue Gabriel; she was adept at bringing out the most 
entertaining qualities of the guests at her table. She would 
often ask us to meet people whom she felt we would like, or 
who she thought might be of use. A maiden lady, with a 
shrewd and original mind, she permitted anything but dull- 
ness and ill manners, delighting in wit and paradox and ad- 
venturous conversation. It was at her house that I first met 
Henry James, and later — a momentous event in my life — 
I was introduced there to Whistler. She was also a great 
friend and admirer of Oscar Wilde, to whom she was con- 
stantly loyal, despite Whistler’s jibes. 


Some bores 



Henry James Henry James often came to Paris, where he had numerous 

in Paris friends. He was persona grata among French writers, as well 
as among his own compatriots. He took a great fancy to 
Frazier, and often wandered into the studio in the rue 
Mad a me. He was charming to all of us; he liked young 
people, and all his life he had been closely associated with 
painters and sculptors. I was amused by his slow and exact 
way of speaking. He was not in those days so massive as he 
became later, either in person or manner, but he was already 
elaborately precise and correct. He always carried his silk 
hat, stick and gloves into the room when he paid a call, laying 
hat and gloves across his knee. I had not read his writings, 
and knew him only as a discerning lover of Paris, who de- 
lighted in its old streets and houses, and as an arresting talker, 
of course. 

One night, when some of us dined with Miss Ruebell, she 
told us that Henry James had brought a young English- 
woman to see her, a Mrs Woods from Oxford. She was a 
writer, the daughter of a Dean, and the wife of the Head of 
an Oxford College. Mrs Woods had just written a book, A 
Village Tragedy , which Henry James praised highly. Her 
next book was to deal, in part, with an artist’s life in Paris; 
she was therefore desirous of meeting some painters. Would 
we come and meet her at dinner, and perhaps show her some- 
thing of studio life? So we gaily concerted to take the en- 
quiring lady to some innocent restaurant, where our friends 
would dress up a la Murger, and play the fool generally. 
However, when in fact we did meet Mrs Woods at Miss 
Ruebell’s, our hearts at once melted. Instead of a prim blue- 
stocking we found a delicate, Shelley-like person, who talked 
delightfully in a dear, silvery, incisive voice. I was placed 
next to her at dinner and began a friendship which has proved 
ever closer and richer with the years. 

But to return to Whistler: I doubt whether the present 
generation of young artists and writers admires its older con- 
temporaries as we admired some of ours. Admired seems 
too weak a word. To me Whistler was almost a legendary 


figure, whom I never thought to meet in the flesh. I must An unexpected 

have felt very shy on this occasion. Mrs Whistler, an ample visit 

and radiant figure, who was, I think, amused and pleased at 

our obvious reverence for her husband (I say our reverence, 

for Studd, Frazier and Howard Cushing had also been bidden 

to meet ‘the master') put me at once at my ease, asking us all 

to come and see them when they were settled in their new 

apartment in the rue du Bac. Was it possible I was really to 

meet the great man again, and in his own house? They were 

to be at home on Sundays, she said; but before the next 

Sunday came round, early one morning there came a knock 

at my door, and who should walk into my studio but Whistler 

himself. I was quite unprepared for his visit, and somewhat 

abashed, at which Whistler was pleased, I think, for he 

laughed and walked lightly round, examined all I had hung 

on the walls, rolled a cigarette and asked to see what I was 

doing. My friends Studd and Frazier must have spoken 

generously of my efforts to Whistler; there was a strong 

element of curiosity in his nature — the reason, perhaps, of his 

visit. The next day came a little note asking me to dine, 

accompanied by a copy of one of his brown-paper pamphlets, 

with an inscription signed with his butterfly. 

He had found an enchanting apartment set far back in the 
rue du Bac, a small, late-eighteenth century pavilion which, 
as he usually did with his houses, he had completely trans- 
formed. The outer door, painted a beautiful green and white, 
gave promise of what was within — a small and exquisite 
interior: a sitting room simply furnished with a few pieces of 
Empire furniture, and a dining room filled with his famous 
blue and white china and beautiful old silver. There was a 
Japanese bird-cage in the middle of the table, whereon he and 
Mrs Whistler used to make lovely, trailing arrangements of 
flowers in blue and white bowls and little tongue-shaped 
dishes. There was a single picture on one of the dining room 
walls, but none, I think, in the sitting room. 

Outside was a good sized garden, into which, one day, 

Whistler's favourite parrot flew. Neither coaxing nor food 

83 6-2 

Whistler's would tempt it down; it finally died from starvation. Next 
ways door was a convent, from which came the frequent sound of 
the nuns chanting. Whistler liked old ways, and this added 
to the charm of his Paris retreat. 

Keen-eyed Whistler ! fixing one with his monocle, quick, 
curious, now genial, now suspicious. One walked delicately, 
but in an enchanted garden, with him. He found amusement, 
I think, in my inexperienced ways. I remember his joy 
when, during a dinner-party at his house, my white tie — I 
was only just learning to tie my own tie — came slowly un- 
done. He wanted always to know what one was doing, whom 
one was seeing. There was a certain gaunt, wan, Botticelli-like 
model (she was a friend of Ary Renan) who sat to me a good 
deal, whom he pretended to believe me in love with. He liked 
to assume that I lived a Don Juan-like career — a fancy he had 
that was half embarrassing, half flattering to a foolish youth. 
But his chaff was tempered by a charming interest in our 
work, which he always treated with respect. For anyone he 
admitted to his friendship must needs be an artist — how 
could he be otherwise? 

Whistler complained bitterly of his treatment in England. 
He never tired of disparaging England and all things English. 
His strictures were sometimes amusing; but at times a little 
tiresome. One afternoon the Whistlers took me to a party — 
at the American Ambassador’s, I think — where a famous 
American dancer was to dance. On the way, Whistler said 
something about the British flag covering a union — of 
hypocrites. For her last dance the lady was arrayed in the 
Americanflag, and I whispered to Whistler that I was bound to 
admit that the Star s and Stripes at any rate concealed very little. 
Whistler enjoyed a jest of this kind ; indeed, he allowed one a 
good deal of latitude, so long as one was ‘accepted’, and he 
often repeated the indiscretions of * the vicar ’ with amusement. 
He used to produce derogatory press-cuttings from his pocket 
and read them aloud ; meanwhile I would ask myself why he 
took notice of such trivialities. Was he not Whistler, the 
acknowledged master? I know now that great artists are as 


fallible as small ones, that small things annoy them as much 
as great ones do; but I had much less knowledge of human 
nature then. And because I was dazzled by Whistler’s bril- 
liant wit, by his exquisite taste, and of course by the beauty 
of his work, so I thought his powers beyond question, and 
I was puzzled that anyone else should fail to think likewise. 
He was so obviously a prince among men. There was some- 
thing extraordinarily attractive, too, about his whole person. 
He wore a short black coat, white waistcoat, white ducks and 
pumps; a low collar and a slim black tie, carefully arranged 
with one long end crossing his waistcoat. He had beautiful 
hands, and there was a certain cleanness and finish about the 
lines of his face, the careful arrangement of his hair, and of 
his eyebrows. On Sunday afternoons, while talking to 
his visitors he usually had a little copper plate in his hands, 
on which he would scratch from time to time. But at this 
time I think he did more lithographs than etchings. He was 
experimenting with coloured lithographs, and it was at his 
studio in the rue Notre Dame des Champs that he made the 
beautiful drawings, on a special kind of transfer paper, from 
his favourite model, Carmen. 

In spite of his constant reference to the stupidity of the 
English and the intelligence of the French, I doubt whether 
Whistler’s work was so well understood in Paris as it was in 
London. It was rather the cosmopolitan painters — Boldini, 
Gandara, Helleu, Tissot, Jacques Blanche — who knew and 
understood him and his work. He was generally considered 
a mere shadow of Velazquez and of Manet; something of a 
poseur , in fact, as Wilde was in England. 

A prince 
among men 




A visit T had heard of Wilde only vaguely as the original of du 
from Wilde A- Maurier’s Bunthome, as a figure in Gilbert and Sullivan’s 
Patience , the young man who walked down Piccadilly with 
a poppy and a lily; and when one day Frazier burst into my 
studio to announce that Wilde was coming up the stairs, I 
expected to meet someone pale and slender. Great was my 
surprise at seeing a huge and rather fleshly figure, floridly 
dressed in a frock coat and a red waistcoat. I was not at all 
attracted by his appearance. He had elaborately- waved, long 
hair, parted in the middle, which made his forehead appear 
lower than it was, a finely shaped nose, but dark-coloured 
lips and uneven teeth, and his cheeks were full and touching 
his wide winged collar. His hands were fat and useless look- 
ing, and the more conspicuous from a large scarab ring he 
wore. But before he left I was charmed by his conversation, 
and his looks were forgotten. Whistler, whom I told of this 
visit, was pitiless in his comments. Soon after, I met Wilde 
again at Miss Ruebell’s, and again found his talk enchanting. 
He held the whole table both during and after dinner. 

Oscar Wilde talked of me as a sort of youthful prodigy; 
he was enthusiastic about my pastels. He introduced me to 
Robert Sherard, to Marcel Schwob, and to Remy de Gour- 
mont, to a new circle of writers and poets. Studd, who had 
got to like Conder, distrusted Wilde. I, who was in some 
ways more innocent than most youths of my age, saw little 
to be afraid of in this new friendship. There was certainly 


something florid, almost vulgar, in his appearance; and his The art of 

manners were emphasised. But he was not only an unique talking 

talker and story-teller — I have never heard anyone else tell 

stories as he did — but he had an extraordinarily illuminating 

intellect. His description of people, his appreciation of prose 

and verse, were a never-failing delight. He seemed to have 

read all books, and to have known all men and women. Tell 

me about so and so, Oscar, you would ask; and there would 

come a stream of entertaining stories, and a vivid and genial 

personal portrait. He was remarkably free from malice. 

Moreover, I had met no one who made me so aware of the 
possibilities latent in myself. He had a quality of sympathy 
and understanding which was more than mere flattery, and 
he seemed to see better than anyone else just what was one’s 
aim; or rather he made one believe that what was latent per- 
haps in one’s nature had been actually achieved. Affected in 
manner, yes; but it was an affectation which, so far as his 
conversation was concerned, allowed the fullest possible play 
to his brilliant faculties. If a man have great wit, he may be 
excused for adopting some mannerism for holding the atten- 
tion of his company. In the clatter of general conversation 
the wisest or the wittiest remarks may pass unnoticed. 

Painters show their pictures, poets publish their poems, why 
should not a talker, when the mood is on him, make sure of 
being heard ? Wilde talked as others painted or wrote ; talking 
was his art. I have certainly never heard his equal; whether 
he was improvising or telling stories — his own or other peo- 
ple’s — one was content that his talk should be a monologue. 

Whisder’s jibe about Oscar’s stealing is beside the point. His 
talk was richer and less egotistical than Whisder’s, and he 
showed a genial enjoyment of his own conversation, which 
was one of his most attractive qualities. Granted thatWhisder 
as an artist was far profounder than Wilde; that Oscar talked 
what he ought to have written; all the better for those who 
knew him as a talker. It is nonsense to say that he talked 
shallow paradox which dazzled young people; I still recall 
perfect sayings of his, as perfect now as on the day when he 


Wilde at the said them. Moreover, he took as much trouble to amuse us 
play youngsters as if we had been the most brilliant audience. I re- 
member that once, when he asked me to dinner, I took with 
me a pretty English model who was then sitting to me, a 
good-natured but rather untidy and commonplace girl. I un- 
derstand now Oscar’s amused expression when he saw us 
arrive together; but he was no less entertaining during the 
whole of the evening. 

I was doing drawings of the two Coquelins at the time. 
Coquelin was anxious that Oscar Wilde should see him play 
the part of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew , so he 
sent me tickets. I invited Juliette, Picard’s friend, who was 
a great admirer of Coquelin, to come with us. But before 
Shakespeare’s play there was a curtain raiser, the scene of 
which represented a dinner party. During this piece Wilde 
amused himself by pretending that the translation of The 
Taming of the Shrew was all wrong, as if he mistook the 
foregoing piece for the Shakespeare. He next feigned annoy- 
ance that the actors should dare to take their meals on the 
stage. ‘In England’, he told Juliette, ‘our actors are more 
correct; they have their dinner before the play begins. I am 
shocked at this want of manners — and really, at the Comedie 
Franqaise !’ Poor Juliette tried to explain that what we were 
seeing was not The Taming of the Shrew at all, and that 
the dinner was part of the play. At the end of this play we 
went behind, and I introduced Wilde to Coquelin. There was 
not much time: 

‘Enchante de faire votre connaissance, Monsieur Wilde. 
Vous comprendrez combien je suis presse en ce moment; 
mais venez done me voir i la maison.’ Wilde, who spoke a 
rather Ollendorfian French with a strong English accent, 

* J e serai ravi, Monsieur Coquelin, quand est-ce que je vous 
trouverai chez vous?’ 

Mais je suis toujours chez moi vers les 9 heures.’ 

Vers les 9 heures, said Wilde, ‘bien, je viendrai un de 
ces soirs.’ 


* Mais, monsieur, c’est vers les 9 heures du matin que je * Un homme 

veuxdire.’ remarqualle 5 

Wilde stepped back, looked at him as though with as- 
tonishment and admiration, and said: 

* Oh, Monsieur Coquelin, vraiment vous etes un homme 
remarquable. Je suis beaucoup plus bourgeois que vous. Je 
me couche toujours vers les 4 ou 5 heures. Jamais je ne 
pourrais rester debout jusqu’a cette heure-la I Vraiment vous 
etes un homme remarquable.’ 

Coquelin stared blankly at Wilde, he quite failed to appre- 
ciate his Irish humour. 

Off the stage Coquelin never behaved in the least like an 
artist. He collected paintings, but without judgment ; he paid 
small prices for small works, and had an astute but small 
mind. He flattered grossly when he wanted anything, and, 
wishing to be considered a man of taste, he coveted the 
society of artists and connoisseurs. Both he and his brother 
Cadet showed the French bourgeois soul, loving and talking 
much of money ; knowing, as Wilde put it, the price of every- 
thing and the value of nothing. But what splendid faces for 
comedy they had, and what rich, unctuous, powerful voices ! 

Coquelin in Les Precieuses Ridicules was superb — one for- 
gave him everything. I can see him now, seated in a great 
chair, his hands placed across his stomach. I can see his 
large humorous mouth and his cunning litde eyes; and as 
Tartuffe he was inimitable. 

To Friant he was a true friend; he genuinely admired the 
painter and respected the man. Indeed, I may perhaps have 
been unjust to him; for unlike many contemporary collectors, 
he did buy pictures he liked and could understand. After all, 
he was a bourgeois with bourgeois tastes. Friant and Dagnan- 
Bouveret were the painters he most appreciated. I met Dag- 
nan at his flat more than once, a gentle, charming man. I went 
with Friant to Dagnan’s studio, and liked a painting on which 
he was busy, of recruits who were leaving to join their 
regiment; fine, serious faces they had, and there was a swing 
in the composition. It showed a severer quality than was 


First usual with Dagnan’s painting. Dagnan enjoyed a great re- 
commissions putation in England as well as in France. John Swan thought 
him the greatest living painter, while Dagnan held Swan in 
high regard. Their fame is now sadly diminished. 

I made several drawings and pasteis both of Coquelin aine 
and his younger brother, the first commissions I got. These 
I made at the Comedie Frangaise, where I enjoyed the stir 
and bustle of the foyer des artistes , the glimpses of the actors 
and actresses making up in their dressing rooms and the 
excitement and confusion of the rehearsals. The seeming 
miles of cupboards, in which hung the dresses for the whole 
repertory of the theatre, astonished me. Duvent, Royer 
and Vuillard also worked much for both the Coquelins, 
for small sums, I think. But we were glad enough to be 
earning, Vuillard especially, for he was then very poor. 
Oscar Wilde also sat to me for his portrait, in a red waistcoat, 
which he wore, doubtless, in imitation of Theophile Gautier. 
The pastel I made was exhibited at the small exhibition I held 
with Conder. I think it was rather more frank than he liked 
— only its colour pleased him, the red waistcoat and gold 
background. ‘It is a lovely landscape, my dear Will; when 
I sit to you again you must do a real portrait.’ Nevertheless, 
he acquired die pastel and used to take it about with him. It 
was stolen from him a few years afterwards in Naples, and 
has never been traced. 

Wilde was much attracted by Conder’s paintings on silk, 
especially the fans. He was surprised that people were not 
tumbling over one another to acquire these lovely things. 
Conder, who was always hard-up, was anxious to sell ids 
work at any price, and Wilde said of him; ‘Dear Conder ! 
With what exquisite subdety he goes about persuading some- 
one to give him a hundred francs for a fan, for which he was 
fully prepared to pay three hundred !’ 

But Conder was leaving Paris for a while. He had been 
more reckless than ever, and his health was suffering. A friend, 
de Vallombreuse, had a villa outside Algiers, and pressed 
Conder to stay withhim there. Conder wrote from Mustapha; 


‘I suppose by this time you are at Bradford preparing for A letter 
Christmas and such like “ploom pooding”. Here one feels from Conder 
quite in Australia again, even the old remembered gum trees 
have been transplanted and summer reigns; they say its winter 
anyhow its spring. There is a long line of almond trees bud- 
ding in the garden and a pearly sea behind underneath all 
rows of white bengal roses. Its a delightful place and quite 
equals one’s expectation; the house is white inside and out and 
was once the abode of a Pasha and his thousand wives. Even 
in my room there is the inevitable chamber of the thousand 
and one nights where the favourite sleeps. I wish you were 
here dear boy, to enjoy all this with me — but — never the 
time and the place? You I’m sure would be happy in this 
grand park of flowers where one finds microscopic corners 
full of that “joie de la vie” one hears of in Paris. One’s 
thirsting for novelty is satisfied for the nonce and one’s only 
difficulty is to fight against that spirit of peace which means 
idleness. I have been nowhere but in the garden, but my next 
letter will have some news. My malady is much worse and 
yesterday I was nearly shipped into hospital, and the doctor 
said I only need rest and suspension of all treatment. 

* This won’t interest you much but it will excuse a short 
letter, and if you would hear more of Alger and myself you 
must write and tell me what has befallen you since last we 

‘ I was thanks to my stupidity landed in Marseilles without 
my luggage. I haven’t got it yet and am going in search to- 
day, though I rather dread the journey into Algiers about 
half an hour from here. Vallombreuse is very charming and 
has made me very comfortable. Write me soon like a good 

9 * 


Whistler and 



M eanwhile Oscar Wilde was the lion of the season 
in Paris; he was invited everywhere. The newspapers 
were full of his doings and sayings ; Madame Adam took him 
up, and asked numbers of people to meet him. I think the 
only contretemps at the time was Whistler’s presence in 
Paris. Wilde felt his hostility keenly. Whisder used to chaff 
me mercilessly about him, and Wilde was touchy, thinking 
I was being prejudiced against him. 

I went sometimes with Oscar Wilde to the Cafe d’Har- 
court, on the Boulevard St Michel, in a comer of which 
Moreas reigned over a cenacle of noisy poets. Moreas, a pale 
Greek with long moustaches and blue-black hair, magnifi- 
cently eloquent, propounded rich and complex theories on 
the art of poetry, theories which found an enthusiastic re- 
sponse from Stuart Merrill, his disciple Raymond de la Tail- 
hade, and other poets of the £cole Romaine. At a certain 
period of the night Moreas would call, ‘Raymond, l’Ode!’ 
and Raymond would stand up and, above the din, cry * Ode 
a Jean Moreas’, and, when something like silence had been 
obtained, would recite a long laudation in verse before his 
complacent master and the rest of the company! The Rat 
Mort and the Cafe de la Place Blanche were temples of silence 
and order compared with the Cafe d’Harcourt. Men and 
women passed constantly among the tables, already packed 
to overflowing, throughout the night. The atmosphere was 
stifling, and thick with tobacco smoke, with the strong per- 


fumes of the grisettes and the fumes of alcohol, and the noise Night haunts 
was deafening. At times there would glide in among the of Paris 
crowded tables a sinister figure, often with a bouquet of 
flowers — stolen, of course — which he would place in front of 
some favoured poet. This was the notorious Bibi la Puree. 

Far into the night this company would remain, tirelessly dis- 
cussing theories of verse, reciting poems and execrating their 
successful contemporaries, while the soucoupes piled up be- 
fore them on the marble tables. One night I went with 
Sherard, Stuart Merrill and Oscar Wilde to a famous night- 
haunt of the Paris underworld, the Chateau Rouge, a sort of 
doss-house with a dangerous and unsavoury reputation. The 
sight of the sinister types lounging about the crowded rooms, 
or sleeping on benches, made me shudder. None of us liked 
it, while Sherard, to add to our discomfort, kept shouting 
that anyone who meddled with his friend Oscar Wilde would 
soon be sorry for himself. * Sherard, you are defending us at 
the risk of our lives/ said Wilde; I think we were all relieved 
to be out in the fresh air again. 

True, I was often low-spirited after late nights in such 
company. So then I would stay indoors and read Tolstoi and 
Balzac, and feel then that my home was not in the wild haunts 
which my friends preferred, but elsewhere. These men I was 
meeting were hardly the friends I would have chosen; I was 
happier with men like Lomont and Marcel Schwob, who, with 
open and enlightened minds yet had faith in something. 

Cynical negation depressed me; I needed the ardour of 
hope in mankind. 

In my studio I felt safe. An artist is well occupied only 
when at work at his easel. Away from his easel he is more 
open to attack, perhaps more than other men. Reckless and 
versatile, he is at the same time thin-skinned. Wilde spoke 
truly when he wrote, * He who lives more lives than one, more 
deaths than one must die.’ Yet the restlessness of youth con- 
stantly tempted me away from the studio; I was avid of life, 
curious and venturesome; moreover, like the rest, I was be- 
witched by that fascinating, overpowering siren, Paris ! And 


A story of when I remembered the Slade, and my cautious companions 
Queen Victoria there, I thought : with all their faults, what faith in the life of 
the mind these French painters and poets have ! 

One evening, sitting outside the Cafe de la Paix with 
Oscar Wilde, we were joined at our table by Caton Wood- 
ville, the war correspondent. He was something of a Miinch- 
hausen, and liked to boast of his exploits. He had recently 
been painting a picture for Queen Victoria — I forget what 
the subject was — in which the Queen herself was portrayed. 
When it was finished, he received a command to take it to 
Windsor. He described how Her Majesty entered the room, 
went up to the picture, examined it carefully in silence and 
then walked towards the door. As she opened the door she 
turned round and said coldly, ‘ We are redder than that, Mr 
Woodville,’ and swept out. 

I didn’t care for the poets’ cafes — they were too crowded 
and noisy; and though I could, on occasion, sit up most of 
the night, I was not a noceur. Wilde said of me that I was like 
those dreadful public-houses in London — punctually at mid- 
night all the lights went out of my face. 

I was too keen on my work to waste many nights among 
these wild poets. I didn’t, at the time, take men like Moreas 
very seriously; indeed, I was surprised to discover, many 
years later, that Moreas was a poet of some distinction. Stuart 
Merrill was an American, educated in France, who wrote 
French verses; a charming fellow, intelligent, but, I fancy, 
rather idle and easy-going, who had associated himself with 
the symbolists. He was not very productive; and all he had 
published, one or two volumes, appeared in a precious form. 
AH these poets admired Mallarme and Verlaine ; but Verlaine’s 
company was not liked at this time; people said he was im- 
possible. Mallarme, on the contrary, was deeply respected 
by everyone, and no wonder; he had scholarship, great per- 
sonal charm and a simple dignity, in fact, all the qualities 
which were lacking in poor Verlaine. He was also a poet of 
great originality and power. His Tuesday evenings were 
crowded; for while his poetry was obscure and rather diffi- 


cult, his conversation was crystal-clear. The friendship be- 
tween him and Whistler was close and affectionate; it was 
delightful to see them together. Whistler’s lithograph of 
Mallarme, printed as a frontispiece to a collected edition of 
his poems, slight though it was, is an extraordinary physical 
and spiritual likeness. I think Whistler cared for Mallarme as 
much as for anyone living. 

Whistler was also friendly with Comte Robert de Montes- 
quiou, the dandified author of Les Chauves Souris , who, it was 
generally supposed, was Huysmans’ model for des Esseintes. 
Montesquiou too had a tortoise whose shell he inlaid with 
jewels; the tortoise’s retort on this outrage was direct and 
emphatic — it died. Montesquiouwasthekindof precieuxvrho 
alienated me; he was on too familiar terms with art, literature 
and music. Being rich and a Count as well, he knew everyone 
and went everywhere. He advertised the talents of Helleu and 
Gandara, and blew a loud trumpet for Whistler. Whistler 
painted a full-length portrait of him, not, I think, in the pale 
mauve frock-coat with shirt, collar and tie to match, in which 
I met him one day on his way to hear Weber’s music, when 
he told me that one should always listen to Weber in mauve ! 
He had the affectation of Wilde without Wilde’s touch of 
genius, and without his geniality and sense of fun. 

To Paris came more than once Mr and Mrs Jack Gardiner. 
Mrs Gardiner -was already famous as a collector of pictures, 
as a fastidious and somewhat eccentric woman, and for 
her great necklace of black pearls. She was notorious as a 
non-beauty, a fact she had the wit to recognise. Sargent had 
painted a striking portrait of her, in a plain black dress, very 
decolletee, and wearing her pearls. She was a warm sup- 
porter of Sargent throughout her life, but she fully recognised 
Whisder’s genius. Thinking she might be interested in my 
work, Whisder asked me to meet Mrs Gardiner at dinner. 
She was curious, too, about the bohemian corners of Paris, 
and Whisder had advised her to have me act as her guide, 
c un vieux qui a moult roule en Palestine et aultres lieux,’ he 
used to say of me laughingly. So I took her to hear Yvette 


Mrs Jack 

£joo for a at the Divan Japonais and Xanrof at the Chat Noir; and to 
Whistler hear Bruant sing his songs at his cabaret. She herself enter- 
tained lavishly at her small and modest-looking hotel in the 
rue de la Paix. I also took her to Conder’s studio, where she 
bought, I think, the first fan he ever painted. She was anxious 
to acquire a Whistler. Why she thought this a perilous project 
I had no idea; Whistler was surely not averse from selling his 
pictures; but she thought that I might be useful and she took 
me with her to the studio in the rue Notre Dame des Champs. 
Whistler was in his most genial mood, and showed a number 
of his canvases, among which was a lovely sea-piece with 
sailing ships. Mrs Gardiner nudged me; I could see she was 
eager to have it. ‘ Why don’t you put it under your arm and 
carry it off?’ I whispered. She was always ready for any 
unusual adventure, and she boldly told Whistler that she was 
going to take the picture with her. Whistler laughed and did 
nothing to stop fier. She told us later that on her asking 
Whistler how much she owed him for this beautiful work, 
Whistler named £300 as the price. How absurdly small a 
sum this seems to-day ! When Studd paid £200 for one of 
Monet’s haystacks and the same price for a painting by 
Picard, it was the talk of Paris. 

Picard was a painter who belonged to our circle at the 
Rat Mort. Juliette, his mistress, was one of the loveliest 
women I have ever seen. Adored by us all, she had the 
lightest grey-blue eyes in a perfect Botticellian face. She 
wore her hair en bandeaux , then the fashion among artistic 
ladies. She had a noble neck and figure, and an enc han tin g 
swaying, lily-like grace. Picard was jealous — and vigilant, 
and no wonder; I marvelled at the time that no one carried 
her off. But it seemed she was loyal as she was beautiful. The 
painting by Picard which Studd had acquired, and which 
made something of a stir in the Salon, was a Leonardesque half- 
length nude of Juliette. What has become of it now I don’t 
know ; I have no recollection of seeing it in Studd’s house at 
Chelsea. Later, when Studd became uniquely devoted to 
Whisder and his art, his taste changed considerably, and it 


may well be that he no longer cared for his Picard. For London houses 
Studd was soon to transfer his entire allegiance to Whistler. 

But Studd, who had come to live at Montmartre, was then 
greatly taken with Picard. Picard was keen to see the 
National Gallery, and some of the private collections in 
London, so Studd invited us both to stay for a week at his 
mother’s house in Hyde Park Gardens; and thither we went 
from Paris. A perfect example of a Victorian house it was, 
the grandest I had ever been in. It had a splendour, a unity 
of a kind peculiar to the period; the cheerful chintzes, bor- 
dered wall-papers, the large flower-patterned carpets, the 
Sevres and Rockingham china, the heavy Victorian silver, 
achieved the harmony of a brilliant nosegay. Studd was ac- 
quainted with many influential people, and was able to take 
Picard and myself to Holland House, to Bridgewater and 
Dorchester House, to the Leylands’ to see Whistler’s pea- 
cock room, to the Cuthbert Quilters’ and to the Hendersons’, 
who had recently acquired Burne-Jones’ Briar Rose series. 

I remember that when we called at the Leylands’ mansion in 
Queen’s Gate, the bell was answered by a major-domo, with 
powdered hair, yellow livery with heavy knots across the 
shoulders and noble silk-clad calves, so impressive a figure, 
that Studd, in presenting the letter of introduction at the 
door, instinctively took off his hat. This task of introducing 
Picard to London gave both Studd and myself the chance of 
visiting collections we might not otherwise have seen. 

Through Studd I got to know the Leslie Stephens at Hyde 
Park Gate. (George Duckworth I had previously met in 
Paris; Gerald was then at Cambridge.) Leslie Stephen filled 
me with awe. He came down to the family tea, which was 
held in the basement. George was cheerful and talkative, but 
Virginia, Stella and Vanessa his step-sisters, in plain black 
dresses with white lace collars and wrist bands, looking as 
though they had walked straight out of a canvas by Watts 
or Burne-Jones, rarely spoke. Beautiful as they were, they 
were not more beautiful than their step-mother. 

Mrs Leslie Stephen was sister to Mrs Fisher, Herbert 




An outrageous Fisher’s mother; she was one of the famous Pattle sisters, 
drawing who had been brought up with the Prinseps, among the 
dazzling circle surrounding Watts. Her rare distinction 
had inspired both Watts and Burne-Jones, and a striking 
portrait of her by Watts hung in the house. During one of 
my visits I had the temerity to ask her to sit to me for a 
drawing; with her gracious nature she could not say no. 
When the drawing was done she looked at it, then handed it 
in silence to her step-daughter. The others came up and 
looked over her shoulder; finally it reached Leslie Stephen. 
The consternation was general. I was already looked on with 
suspicion, for in those days Whistler, whose disciple I was 
knovm to be, was anathema in Burne- J ones’ and W atts’ circles. 
The alarm must have spread upstairs; for a message came 
down from old Mrs Jackson, Mrs Leslie Stephen’s mother, 
and the drawing was taken up for her to see. A confirmed 
invalid, Mrs Jackson had not come down from her room for 
many years; but on seeing the drawing she rang for a stick, 
like the Baron calling for his boots, and prepared to give me 
a piece of her mind. I can still hear the thump of her stick 
as she came heavily downstairs; and the piece of her min d 
which she gave me was a solid one. I went away thoroughly 
awed, and well punished for my rashness. I had quite for- 
gotten the drawing when, some 35 years later, while staying 
in Dresden with my friend von Hofmann, I came upon it 
in an old brown-paper sketch book, which I had given 
him once in Paris. Although it did but scant justice to 
Mrs Stephen’s great charm and rare beauty, it was not quite 
so bad, perhaps, as they thought it. 

Later I did more than one portrait of Leslie Stephen him- 
self; and was to find the shy and silent daughters emerge, one 
as Virginia Woolf, the other, no less gifted, as Vanessa Bell. 

One more memory of the Stephen household. Calling one 
day to see George Duckworth, I was shown straight into 
Leslie Stephen’s study. I was aware of a gaunt, bent and 
melancholy figure, pacing up and down. He looked startled 
at seeing me, and I too was frightened at fin ding myself alone 


and face to face with this shy and awe-inspiring figure. Shyness of 

Knowing vaguely that I was a painter, and feeling it in- Leslie Stephen 

cumbent on him to provide some form of entertainment, he 

walked slowly to his book-case and took out a book, one of 

Thackeray’s manuscripts, which was full of absurd little 

thumb-nail sketches. Holding the book stiffly in front of 

me, Leslie Stephen began slowly turning over the leaves, 

stopping each time he came to a drawing. I tried desperately 

to say something intelligent, while he went on turning, 

turning, turning the pages, and looking sternly at me each 

time to mark the result. My tongue was dry, sweat poured 

down my forehead, hours seemed to pass, when at last we 

were both relieved from the dreadful situation by George 

Duckworth’s entry. 

Philip Burne-Jones was an intimate friend of the Stephen 
family. He was a boisterous visitor, full of fun, with whom 
the daughters were far less reserved. So they were to a lesser 
degree with Studd. Before he met Whistler, there was a 
genuinely naive and primitive element in Studd’s painting. 

He had an affection for the Breton peasants, and he found a 
house at Le Pouldu where he lived for months at a time. 

A Breton fisherman acted for many years as his servant- 
companion, going with him wherever he went. He made 
many studies of the men, women and children of Le Pouldu; 

I wish he had gone on working as he did then. The time was 
not yet when rather naive work was understood. Had Studd 
continued to paint peasants with the very personal feeling he 
showed in his early work, he might well have made a dis- 
tinctive place for himself. I doubt whether he was of a 
temperament to follow art for art’s sake. His nature was 
more closely allied to Millet’s and even to the early manner 
of Gauguin, than to Whistler’s. But Whistler, who mes- 
merised us all at one time or another, won Studd’s lasting 
devotion; indeed, so loyal he was, he looked on the defection 
from Whistler’s influence of myself and others as a kind 
of lese-majeste; and when later Whisder quarrelled with me, 
it caused a breach between Studd and myself. 



My model The model I mentioned, who frequently sat to me, one day 

brought me two paintings by Puvis de Chavannes, which 
she wanted to sell. She had offered them to several French 
artists, but no one seemed to want them. She asked 600 francs 
for them both — what a chance ! But my allowance was only 
300 francs a month; I was already behind-hand with the 
colour merchant and framer, and 600 francs was for me a 
large sum. So I told Studd about the paintings, and fortu- 
nately he was able to buy them. These two paintings now 
hang in the National Gallery in London. Whistler used to 
tease me about this model. She had a small child. One night 
during dinner, Frazier, Studd and I were sitting near Mrs 
Whistler, who was asking about this child, when Whistler, 
who usually wanted to know what was going on if he heard 
sounds of laughter, broke in — ‘What, a child too ! Well you 
know Parson ! and how old is the young brat?’ * A child of 
eight,’ I said. ‘What! were there as many of you as that,’ 
was Whistler’s quick retort. In appearance this model re- 
called a phrase of Henry James’ : * The wanton was not with- 
out a certain cadaverous beauty.’ I made many pastel draw- 
ings of her, one or two of which were acquired by Studd. 
Another figured in an exhibition which Conder and I held 
together, of which I have spoken, and was reproduced, to- 
gether with a drawing of Duvent, in V Art Frangais , a 
periodical long defunct. These two drawings point to a 
certain economy and severity of treatment at this early stage 
of my career. I have been twitted with having been an 
amusing and brilliant artist, grown serious since; but the ten- 
dency of these drawings does not seem to me to differ much 
from that of my later work. This show of Conder’s work 
and of mine was held at the little gallery of le pere Thomas 
on the Boulevard Malsherbes. Thomas was a courageous but 
reckless dealer, one of the few who, at this time, risked their 
small capital on men in whom they believed. It was Lautrec 
who made our work known to him. Both Conder and I were 
very young and obscure; Conder was 23, and I was 19; yet 
with no chance of getting back his money the good Thomas 



placed his gallery at our disposal. Conder showed paintings An exhibition 
of orchards, and drawings inspired by Omar Khayyam; I — and Pissarro 
showed pastels, chiefly portraits, including the one of Oscar 
Wilde. The little show was favourably noticed in Le Figaro. 

I remember this because we were told to leave cards on the 
art critic ! 

It is memorable also for the visit of Camille Pissarro, who 
came with his son Luden, and for the warm encouragement 
he gave me, and for the friendship I then began with them 
both. Lucien’s painting, his beautiful books and coloured 
woodcuts, have brought me life-long pleasure. Both Conder 
and I sold several things, the greater part to a Portuguese 
collector, Azavedo, of whom I have never heard since. We 
both burst out into frock-coats and stocks, en mil huit cent 
trente , and in Conder s case, peg-top trousers. These last I 
did not venture on, but they suited Conder’s figure, and they 
were then the wear in Montmartre. 

Whistler used to say that I carried out what in others was 
merely gesture; this of course was pure flattery. But with its 
many faults, my work at this time was generously noticed by 
older artists. It attracted the notice of Degas, who sent word, 
oddly enough through a little model of his who came often 
to our table at the Cafe de la Rochefoucauld, that I might, if 
I cared, pay him a visit. Degas as well as Whistler ! And but 
two years before I was drawing casts at the Slade School and 
longing to know one or two of the older students. 

Although I was always somewhat excited when visiting 
Whistler, his curiosity to know what I had been doing, whom 
I had been seeing, his friendly chaff, would put me at ease. 

With Degas, I was never quite comfortable. To begin with, 
nervous people are apt, when speaking in a foreign tongue, 
to say rather what comes into their heads, than to say what 
they mean. Moreover, Degas’ character was more austere 
and uncompromising than Whisder’s. Compared with Degas 
Whisder seemed almost worldly in many respects. Indeed, 

Degas was the only man of whom Whisder was a litde afraid. 

‘ Whisder, you behave as though you have no talent,’ Degas 


The man had said once to him; and again when Whistler, chin high, 
Whistler feared monocle in his eye, frock-coated, top-hatted, and carrying a 
tall cane, walked triumphantly into a restaurant where Degas 
was sitting : * Whistler, you have forgotten your muff.’ Again, 
about Whistler’s flat-brimmed hat, which Whisder fancied, 
Degas said : 1 Oui, il vous va tres bien; mais ce n’esf pas 5a qui 
nous rendra 1 ’ Alsace et la Lorraine!’ 

Degas was famous, and feared, for his terrible mots. He 
was unsparing in his comments on men who foiled in fidelity 
to the artistic conscience. Flattery, usefulness and subservi- 
ence provided in some cases the key to intimacy with 
Whisder; with Degas integrity of character was a sine qua 
non of friendship. One thing he had in common with 
Whistler — a temperamental respect for the aristocratic tradi- 
tion, the 4 West Point’ code of honour, a French West Point, 
which included anti-Republican and anti-semitic tendencies, 
which later made him a strong partisan of the Militarists and 
anti-Dreyfussards. He heartily disliked the cosmopolitanism 
which was ousting the narrower but more finely tempered 
French culture — destroying it indeed, so he thought; hence 
he wanted to save what he could of French art from the new- 
rich American collector, then already beginning to cast his 
efficient nets, baited with dollars, in Parisian waters. Degas 
was buying as many drawings by Ingres as he could; he had 
also acquired half a dozen of his paintings, and many draw- 
ings by Daumier and Delacroix. Daumier he placed high 
among the nineteenth-century painters ; ‘ If Raphael ’, he said, 
‘returned to life and looked at Gerome’s pictures, he would 
say “connu”; but if he saw a drawing by Daumier, “ Tiens, 
c’est interessant, 5a, et d’une puissante main” he would say.’ 
Degas owned several large slips of Manet’s Execution of 
Maximilian . , two of which are now in the National Gallery. 
A dealer bought the original painting, and, being unable to 
dispose of so large a canvas, cut it up and sold the fragments 
separately; most of these Degas wasableto secure. Hehad, be- 
sides, two beautiful still-life paintings by Manet, one of a ^'ngU 
pear, and one of a ham. He had thought him over-worldly j 


* Mais tu es aussi connu que Garibaldi ; que veux-tu de plus? ’ A retort 
Degas chaffed him once. Manet’s answer came pat: ‘Mon from Manet 
vieux, alors tu es au-dessus du niveau de la mer.’ He spoke 
with particular admiration of Manet, regretting that he had 
not appreciated him enough during his lifetime. Whistler 
habitually belittled Manet’s work, disliking to hear us praise 
it. Like Whistler, Degas had no great opinion of Cezanne as 
an artist. 

Degas was a confirmed bachelor of simple habits. He 
occupied two apartments, one above the other, in the rue 
Victor Masse, over which a devoted old servant ruled and 
guarded the painter against intruders. The walls of the lower 
flat were hung with his beloved French masters, while up- 
stairs he kept his own numerous works. With those whom 
he had once admitted to his friendship he threw off much of 
his reserve, and showed and discussed his treasures. I eagerly 
listened to his affectionate tributes ; he never tired of lingering 
over the beauties of his Ingres drawings. He pressed me to 
look out for unknown originals which, he believed, were in 
England; for Ingres had employed a tout in Rome and in 
this way got many commissions from English tourists, before 
he became famous. I did, in fact, find that two of my friends, 
the Misses Colthurst, owned such a drawing, done by Ingres 
at Rome, of two ladies, their forebears. Miss Anne Colt- 
hurst, herself a gifted artist, had the drawing photographed, 
and took it herself to Degas. She was warmly received, and 
remained in friendly relations with Degas until the end of 
his life. 

Degas in appearance had something of Henley and some- 
thing of Meredith, but was too heavy for Meredith, and too 
finely featured for Henley. His raised brows and heavily- 
lidded eyes gave him an aspect of aloofness; and in spite of 
his baggy clothes, he looked the aristocrat that he was. 

One or two things I saw at the rue Victor Masse remain 
in my memory: a beautiful pastel of a woman lying on a 
settee in a bright blue dress, a work which I have not seen 
again, nor seen reproduced; a small wax model of a horse 


Degas models leaping to one side, which he made use of in a well-known 
and methods composition of jockeys riding. This was the most highly 
finished of Degas’ maquettes which I saw at the rue Victor 
Masse. Until now I was unaware that Degas modelled. He 
owned some casts of an Indian dancing figure, a nataraja or 
an apsara, the first examples of Indian sculpture I had seen. 

Degas was then making studies of laundresses ironing, and 
of women tubbing or at their toilets. Some of these were re- 
drawn again and again on tracing paper pinned over drawings 
already made; this practice allowed for correction and simpli- 
fication, and was common with artists in France. Degas 
rarely painted directly from nature. He spoke once of Monet’s 
dependence in this respect: ‘Je n’eprouve pas le besoin de 
perdre connaissance devant la nature,’ he mocked. 

Degas complained much of his eyesight. Young people 
to-day, who prefer the later work of Degas and of Renoir, 
hardly realise how much of its looser character was due to 
their failing sight. Degas, in the ’nineties, was still able to 
see fairly clearly; but towards the end of his life he was 
obliged to use the broadest materials, working on a large 
scale, hesitating, awkward, scarcely able to find his way over 
the canvas or paper. 

He was by nature drawn to subtleties of character and to 
intricate forms and movements. He had the Parisian curiosity 
for life in its most objective forms. At one with the Impres- 
sionists in rejecting the artificial subject-matter of the Salon 
painters, he looked to everyday life for his subjects; but he 
differed from Manet and his other contemporaries, in the 
rhythmical poise of his figures and the perfecting of detail. 
He found, in the life of the stage and the intricate steps of the 
ballet, with its background of phantasy, an inexhaustible 
subject-matter, which allowed for the colour and movement 
of romantic art, yet provided the clear form dear to the 
classical spirit. He delighted in the strange plumage of the 
files d'opera, as they moved into the circle of the limelight 
or stood, their skirts standing out above their pink legs, 
chattering together in the wings. The starling-like flock of 


young girls, obedient to the baton of the maitre de danse, A pupil of 
Degas rendered with astonishing delicacy of observation. Ingres 
He never forgot that he was once a pupil of Ingres. Indeed, 
he described at length, on one of my first visits, his early 
relations with Ingres; how fearfully he approached him, 
showing his drawings and asking whether he might, in all 
modesty, look forward to being, some day, an artist; Ingres 
replying that it was too grave a thing, too serious a responsi- 
bility to be thought of ; better devote himself to some other 
pursuit. And how going again, and yet again, pleading that 
he had reconsidered, from every point of view, his idea of 
equipping himself to become a painter, that he realised his 
temerity, but could not bring himself to abandon all his 
hopes, Ingres finally relented, saying, ‘C’est tres grave, 
ce que vous pensez faire, tres grave; mais si enfin vous tenez 
quand meme a etre un artiste, un bon artiste, eh bien, mon- 
sieur, faites deslignes,rien que deslignes.’ One of Ingres’ say- 
ings which came back to Degas was Celui qui ne vit que 
dans la contemplation de lui-meme est un miserable . Degas 
had lately been at Montauban, Ingres’ birthplace, where the 
greater n umb er of his studies are preserved. Degas was full 
of his visit, and of the surpassing beauty of the drawings. 

When I got back to England I was indignant at tne general 
misapprehension^of Degas’ character; for instance, he was 
fiercely assailed by Sir William Richmond on account of 
a picture — Id Absinthe — which had lately been shown in 
London — a portrait of Desboutin, the etcher, sitting with a 
woman at a table at the Nouvelle Athenes. Desboutin was, 
as a matter of fact, a good, sober, bourgeois artist, a familiar 
and picturesque figure in Montmartre. Degas himself lived 
very austerely; no breath of scandal had ever touched him. 

He once told us an amusing story of how, being constantly 
twitted by his friends about his complete indifference to the 
other sex, he felt he must make some demonstration of 
gallantry. Finding that one of the little dancers who sat for 
fiim -was going to America, he thought this an opportunity 
for the appropriate gesture. He booked a passage on the 


Visiting Degas 

boat following her’s, reached New York, remained quietly on 
board, and returned to France. Impossible to do more, he 
said, than show himself capable of pursuing a lady all the 
way from Paris to New York! 

Each time I knocked at the door in the rue Victor Masse 
my heart beat fast; would I be admitted? But the old lady 
had her orders; once accepted, one might come again. But 
I seldom went, afraid lest the acquaintance, so unlooked for, so 
intoxicating, might come to an end. Yet how I looked for- 
ward to seeing something of Degas at work, to hearing his 
comments on painters and paintings ! Yet, as in other like 
cases, I was sometimes too acutely self-conscious and in- 
wardly excited to enjoy myself. It was in retrospect that 
I most appreciated my visits. Admiration and detractions 
were equally exciting to hear; though it is not, to my present 
way of thinking, quite decent for young men to sit and listen 
complacently to attacks on others, when their own integrity 
has yet to be tested. I was, however, all eyes and ears at the 
rue Victor Masse, and my friends too were eager to hear me 
repeat Degas’ latest mot. Truth to tell, I heard more of 
admiration than of abuse. 

Degas liked Forain and his work; he was interested, too, 
in Lautrec’s. To my surprise, he greatly disliked Rodin, who, 
in our eyes, was one of the Olympians. Among English 
artists, he rated Charles Keene highly. He was curious 
about Brangwyn’s work, which he had noticed somewhere, 
perhaps at Bings’. Bing was the well-known dealer, who had 
spent many years in Japan. Through him collectors acquired 
their Japanese prints, paintings and lacquer. Bing and 
Hayashi knew more than anyone else about Japanese art. 
But now Bing had embarked on an ambitious project. His 
galleries were to become the centre of Vart nouveau . , the 
French arts and crafts movement, and Brangwyn was to 
decorate one of his rooms, and Conder the other. Conder 
painted a set of panels on silk, which for long hung at Bings’, 
but found no purchaser, until they were bought by Fritz 



Sargent and Helleu Degas held in little esteem. Helleu 
was a rising star, an adroit draughtsman and an able pastellist. 
An appreciation of fine breeding and of feminine fastidious- 
ness, combined with a delicate sensuality, so refined as to 
please rather than offend the sitters he chose for their beauty, 
made him the chosen artist of certain great ladies — of Mme 
de Montebello and of Mme de Greffuhle. He had married a 
beautiful young girl with delicate features, slight and slim 
fingered, of whom he made some of his best dry points and 
drawings. She presided with modest grace in his flat, a flat 
which he furnished with choice examples of eighteenth- 
century taste. I remember his showing a new acquisition, a 
bowl of finest porcelain, moulded, he declared, from the 
breast of one of Louis’ court favourites, perhaps from the 
Du Barry’s. But it was not only women with whom Helleu 
was occupied; he was making studies of blue hydrangeas, 
flowers as dear to him as they were to Comte Robert de 
Montesquiou, and of the fountains of Versailles. Versailles 
was his temple, and Watteau his household god; did not 
Degas call Helleu himself le Watteau cl vapeur ? Yet physically 
he looked more like a southern Frenchman than one from 
the north, with his raven-blue hair, and his pale, finely- 
chiselled features. I didn’t care for Helleu, and he didn’t like 
me; he was polite because he met me at Whistler’s. I felt 
about him something of the arriviste. The very young are 
suspicious of artists who frequent fashionable circles; in this 
they are often unjust, for the refinements of life need inter- 
preting also, and men with the talent and taste of Helleu and 
Gandara are not often available. It is right that there should 
be artists who cater for wealthy people with cultured tastes. 
Watts in England is an example of an artist’s relations with 
such a world. But young men with gifted friends, who, may 
be, live in neglect, are apt to be critical of those whom fortune 
has favoured. 

The so-called fashionable portrait painter is too often a 
mere transcriber, whose intellect, on a level with that of his 
sitters, is not likely to offend by seeing in them either dignity 


t Le Watteau 
a vapeur ’ 

Gandara or character. Yet fashionable people it appears choose pre- 
cisely those artists who are blind to the fineness of fashion. 
Could anything be more fatal to the virtue of fashion, or 
more vulgar or stupid, than the long rows of portraits an- 
nually shown at the Salon or the Royal Academy? Helleu, at 
any rate, could satisfy a discriminating taste; he had a sense 
of the wit, distinction and subtleties of mode. His stick of 
sanguine could at least give style and elegance to his por- 
traits. Later on, as commissions poured in, he became 
mannered, and gave a mechanical distinction of feature to all 
his sitters. 

Another painter, Antonio de la Gandara, whom I thought 
a more serious artist than Helleu, was also much in request 
as a portrait painter. He showed a painting of his wife 
walking in a wood, an effect of sous hois, at the Salon, which 
seemed to promise a new kind of beauty. I was likewise 
attracted by his drawings, which for a time strongly in- 
fluenced my own. Whistler, also, thought them interesting, 
and he sat to Gandara. Whistler promised that I too should 
make a drawing of him, both in Paris and, later, in London. 

Both Helleu and Gandara were ardent supporters of 
Whistler, and were often at the rue du Bac. While Helleu 
collected eighteenth-century furniture, Gandara was an 
amateur of the Empire period. His studio, "with its grey 
walls and lemon panelling, was furnished with a few severe 
pieces of Empire furniture, which he introduced into his 
portraits. He was painting the Princesse de Chimay, an 
American lady, in a white Empire dress of the finest trans- 
parent muslin; beside Gandara, with his dark complexion 
and coal-black hair and moustache, she looked dazzlingly 
radiant; and later, when I saw the Goyas in Madrid, I thought 
again of the two figures, one so fair, the other so dark, in 
the pale grey studio. 




M rs Whistler sometimes gave us tea in her husband’s Whistler and 
studio; to this we greatly looked forward, forif Whistler his work 
was in a good mood he would bring out a canvas, and having 
shown one, others were sure to follow. It was exciting to see 
such a succession of his works, but the privileged occasion 
was not without its embarrassment; for Whisder’s com- 
ments on his own work were so loving, so caressing, that to 
find superlative expressions of praise to cap his own became, 
as one canvas or panel after another was slipped into the 
frame on the easel, increasingly difficult and exhausting. But 
I was to see another side of Whisder’s character. We had 
been dining at the Hotel du Bon Lafontaine; after dinner 
Whisder proposed we should go to the studio. We walked 
to the rue Notre Dame des Champs. Climbing the stairs we 
found the studio in darkness. Whisder lighted a single candle. 

He had been gay enough during dinner, but now he became 
very quiet and intent, as though he forgot me. Turning a 
canvas that faced the wall, he examined it carefully up and 
down, with the candle held near it, and then did the like with 
some others, peering closely into each. There was something 
tragic, almost frightening, as I stood and waited, in watching 
Whistler; he looked suddenly old, as he held the candle with 
trembling hands, and stared at his work, while our shapes 
threw resdess, fantastic shadows, all around us. As I fol- 
lowed him silendy down the stairs I realised that even 
Whisder must often have felt his heart heavy with the sense 


Approach to of failure. A letter to Fantin-Latour, published long after, in 
painting -which he regretted that, while still a student, he had not 
learned to draw like Ingres, reminded me vividly of what 
I had seen that night. 

It is true that Whistler, while he had an inimitable sense 
of drawing, was not, in the full sense of the word, a good 
draughtsman. Yet so exquisite was his feeling for form, he 
succeeded where less sensitive draughtsmen failed. And so 
elusive was the mark at which he aimed, and so often, as he 
thought, he failed to achieve it, his fastidiousness cost him 
the destruction of a large part of his life’s work. 

There are two different approaches to painting: one is that 
of surrendering oneself to life in order to interpret its vivid, 
surprising, articulated forms, to get to grips with each aspect 
of nature, to ravish from each individual object or person 
something of life’s vivacity and profundity, something that 
shall stand for life as a whole. This was the way of Velazquez 
and Hals and Chardin, which the realists and impressionists 
followed. But there is another aspect of life in painting : there 
is a finality of form, removed from momentary appearance. 
This aspect has been supremely expressed in certain Italian 
paintings, where form is seen as though carved from agate or 
ivory, hard, resisting, everlasting, so that the figures dealt 
with have something in common with images set in shrines, 
through their very remoteness from life, images which evoke, 
in those who worship before them, a comfort, a beauty, a 
truth of which all men get an inkling at rare moments. 

Now this agate-like quality of design and form which so 
dignified painting, and which I missed in the realists, has 
always moved me. Certain drawings have this quality; I was 
dimly aware of it in some of Rossetti’s early drawings, 
especially in his pen-drawing of Miss Siddall at South Ken- 
sington Museum; later on I found it in other of his clear 
and close-knit designs. This was at least Rossetti’s aim, if not 
the aim of the other Pre-Raphaelites, to achieve completeness 
of conception rather than finish. Whistler, too, aimed at 
something less accidental, something more foreseen, than his 


French contemporaries, and he laboured to achieve a quality 
of material and surface which should suggest both the 
mystery and the permanence of life. 

Strangely enough Cezanne, whom Whistler so much dis- 
liked, was haunted by a similar desire. Manet, Degas, Renoir 
and Monet were less disturbed by such dreams. Only Millet 
achieved the perfect fusion between movement and form, 
between what was passing and what was permanent. Perhaps 
it was the inkling I had of his underlying desire for some- 
thing other than casual appearance that drew me so strongly 
to Whistler’s work. Of all his portraits, I most liked the Rose 
Corder, which was shown, with several other paintings by 
Whistler, at the first Salon du Champs de Mars. There was 
a flavour of consciousness in the portraits of Carlyle and of 
Whistler’s mother, and in that of Miss Alexander; but the 
Rose Corder portrait was a triumph of unaffected ease. 
Whistler said, when I was telling of my admiration for his 
painting of Rose Corder, that he had painted this portrait 
for Howell, and that to his surprise Howell had paid for it, 
had given him a hundred guineas. He was less surprised 
when he discovered that Howell had possessed himself of a 
quantity of his etchings ; the hundred pounds was perhaps 
a sop to his conscience ! 

Both Whistler and Oscar Wilde told me innumerable 
stories of Howell. It was from Whistler I first heard the tale 
of the Chinese Cabinet, the subject of a pamphlet. The 
Paddon Papers , which was printed, but never published 1 . 

He also told about a clock that belonged to Swinburne, 
which Howell carried off for repairs, and which, needless to 
say, Swinburne never saw again. According to Whisder, 
Howell managed, in one way or another, to get into relations 
with people of importance: royalties, millionaires or cabinet 
ministers. He had got together a collection of foreign deco- 
rations, one of which, some Portuguese order, had actually 

1 I possess Whistler’s own copy of this pamphlet with his correc- 
tions, which show that Whistler was not above tampering with the text 
if it suited his purpose. 

The Rose Corder 


Ingenuity been conferred on himself. One of the French Royal Princes 
of Howell was to lecture on some remote part of the world — Paraguay, 
I think it was — at the Royal Institution. Howell turned up 
with the rosette of the Legion of Honour in his button-hole, 
listened to the discourse, then rose and made a long and 
flattering speech, substantiating from a long experience in 
Paraguay the statements made. The Prince was delighted, 
Howell was presented, and knew well how to make use of 
his opportunity. 

Whistler always asserted that Howell 'was still alive and 
would turn up again in a new character; like Rossetti, he was 
tickled by his brazen audacity, by his skill in escaping from 
his many dilemmas. Howell could palm off whatever he 
would on some client or another, and he had many and 
marvellous ways of extracting money from wealthy people. 
He was an adept at finding rare things, with which he sup- 
plied collectors. One day Howell had a visitor — I forget his 
identity — who came to look over some recent purchases. 
Among other objects he noticed a black china tea-pot and one 
or two cups and saucers. He asked Howell what they were. 
‘Oh/ said Howell, ‘they are things of no importance/ But 
the collector was curious and returned again and again to the 
subject. * Well/ said Howell, * they are not beautiful and they 
aren’t in your line; apart from their rarity they aren’t worth 
looking at. You probably know that when Kien Lung lost 
his favourite wife, he ordered complete mourning — black 
everywhere : black hangings, black carpets, even black cinders 
on the paths round the Palace. You know, of course, that 
black china was then no longer produced, so a special service 
had to be made. Most of these pieces have disappeared, but 
by an extraordinary bit of luck I happened to come across 
this tea-pot and two cups — probably the only ones left of 
the set.’ The client’s acquisitive passion was roused; he in- 
quired the cost, which Howell for long refused to divulge. 
To cut a long story short, the collector fell into the trap and 
paid Howell a big price for his bargain. A year or two after- 
wards, prowling through Wardour Street he espied, in the 

1 12 

window of a china shop, two or three of the precious black Black china and 

cups and saucers. He felt a thrill of excitement, went in, the six marks 

bought a number of things, and then asked casually what the 

price of the cups and saucers would be. The dealer, evidently 

unaware of their value, mentioned a trivial figure. The 

amateur of china, hiding his elation, directed the dealer to 

send the other things along; he would take the black cups 

and saucers with him. 

‘ Were you interested in black china, Sir ? ’ asked the dealer. 

‘Perhaps you wouldn’t mind coming in here’ — taking him 
into a small room at the back of the shop, where every shelf 
was packed with this ware from floor to ceiling. ‘You may 
not remember that — s put this line on the market; I bought 
a quantity, but it never took on, and most of it has been left 
on my hands. I shall be glad to let you have any quantity ! ’ 

Whisder also said that Howell had such influence over 
Miss Corder, by devious ways, he made her forge Pre- 
Raphaelite pictures, especially paintings and drawings by 
Rossetti, many of which he passed off as originals; ‘Well, 
you know,’ Whisder added, ‘there isn’t much difference.’ 

But both he and Rossetti put up with Howell; he was worth 
more than what he got out of them. 

Whisder was vague about geography. I got a petit bleu 
one day asking me to dine the same evening. On my arrival, 

Whisder explained that the Rathbones were passing through 
Paris — didn’t I come from the same town as they did? Of 
course I would know them. Liverpool and Bradford are two 
different places, but the Rathbones were charming. Whisder 
reminded the old gendeman how, on a previous occasion, 
he had been excited at seeing the soup served on some par- 
ticularly beautiful blue and white plates. ‘ Why, Whisder,’ 
he had said, ‘ these must have the six marks,’ so he turned his 
plate up and the soup flowed gracefully over the table. 

Another time I was asked to dine at the rue du Bac, and 
there I found Howard Cushing, Mallarme and Mme Mal- 
larme. Dinner was to be at eight. Mrs Whisder, whose 
French was not very facile, was a litde agitated. Mallarme, 

113 8 


Waiting for spoke delightful English, but his wife, I think, spoke none. 

Whistler We walked in the garden waiting for Whisder. Half past 
eight — nine o’clock — no Whistler, and Mrs Whisder getting 
more and more anxious. At a quarter past nine Whisder 
arrived, not in the least perturbed; nor did dinner seem the 
worse for being an hour and a half late. Whistler was very 
particular about food. While his house was being got ready, 
he stayed at a charming old hotel frequented, he said, ‘you 
know by cardinals and archbishops’ — the Hotel du Bon 
Lafontaine, in the rue de Grenelle. The kitchen, of the old- 
fashioned bourgeois type, Whistler declared was equal to any 
in Paris. I recollect a wonderful dish of langouste prepared, 
he explained, according to a mediaeval recipe; and I re- 
member that when the coffee came it was cold, at which 
Whistler was much upset. 

One evening, at the rue du Bac, a man from Goupil’s 
came, very worried, to ask Whistler’s advice. Goupil’s had 
been asked to clean Burne-Jones’ Love Among the Ruins', 
they had foolishly treated it as an oil painting, and thereby 
had ruined it. What was to be done? Whisder had never for- 
given Burne-Jones for giving evidence against him at the 
Ruskin trial. He shouted with derision at the disaster. 
* Didn’t I always say the man knew nothing about painting, 
what? They take his oils for water-colours, and his water- 
colours for oils.’ Whisder never forgot and never forgave. 
His judgments on his contemporaries were as much dictated 
by his personal relations with artists as by his aesthetic 
standards. Hence his lavish praise of Albert Moore. Of past 
English painters he praised only Hogarth — the one English 
artist, he used to say, who knew his business. He deemed 
The Shrimp Girl a masterpiece. Turner he called ‘ tha t old 

Whisder never liked Conder, and didn’t care for his work. 
I don’t think he ever invited Conder to the rue du Bac. He 
probably thought him too involved with ladies at Mont- 
martre, too fond of his absinthe; for though Whisder was 
not censorious, he shrank from contact with anything coarse 

1 14 

.or ugly; he liked people to fit into the pleasant social frame 
in which he lived. The gaiety that wine enhances, yes; but 
not the excitement and depression of alcohol. Although he 
was constantly railing against England, he really respected 
the fine temper and polish of English society. 

Poor Conder would have liked to cut a figure, to be a sort 
of Lucien de Rubempre. He had an immense respect for 
people he thought influential, believing that this or that man 
could effect wonderful things in his favour, wanting to in- 
troduce me, so that my fortune too could be made. Through 
the prism of Conder’s dreamy imagination, the men and 
women he met would assume rainbow colours; especially 
the women. One often hears of the attraction of certain men 
for women — how irresistible they are to the frailer members 
of the other sex. I am no psychologist, but in the case of the 
two or three men I have known whose charms were fatal, the 
reason seemed plain; nothing succeeds like desire, with 
unus ual ability to satisfy it. Most sensitive men are only 
attracted by certain affinities, but to Guy de Maupassant, it 
was rumoured, any woman could appeal. I first heard from 
Dr Charvot who was then constantly seeing him, that this 
explained the sudden collapse of his powerful brain. Some- 
thing of this dangerous power belonged to Conder; he was 
often without a sou, but he was never without a lady. But 
to Germaine he had been faithful longer than was usual with 
Tiim. For weeks they would be together, loving and quar- 
relling; and I was bewildered by adulation and complaints 
from each in turn. They had parted, for ever, and in a few days 
I would find them together again. Conder and she would go 
off into the country, Conder to paint apple blossom or willow 
trees; he had found a place near La Roche Guyon, a tiny 
hamlet with the lovely name of Chantemesle. Chantemesle, 
how like one of Conder’s own pensive paintings! From 
there he wrote me, while I was staying at Montigny: 

‘ Here I have a charming house all to myself’ with a little 
flower garden (rather a verger ) and a skiff of my own 
which I have hired: I could almost say “had” with the 


Whistler and 


A letter from mystress that I rowed away myself to the train the same 
Ckantemesle morning. So this letter will not be sunny — forgive me — 
written I confess from loneliness to one who if even from 
analytical reasons will not be too unsympathetic. 

‘I do feel a little lonely; but it’s a huggable loneliness 
which made me even angry with a small moth who sat 
himself on the comer of the last page — Ah, as I write he 
has got too near my lamp. “Why,” cries this moth, “were 
lamps made that I should so easily get sore wings?” 
I was delighted to get your letter and had just been 
thinking about you. It came as a true friend and I filtered 
away two vermouths on reading under the old towers at la 
Roche Guyon. So you’re at Montigny bored unto death 
I imagine with this cursed weather — “rain beating against 
the windows has a leaden effect on my literary composition”. 
Indeed this morning m£me we sat and watched it in a small 
room and felt angry and how large and wide the world was ; 
“so we disputed and parted”. We had jolly times she and I 
but many discussions — I knew always that it would be so 
and that I am not sufficiently sympathetic to stay long — but 
rain — rain, Rothenstein, upsets anyone and women are hard 
and will bore one. If we could only look — as I look at the 
pink rose on the table and hear no stories of past glories then 
all would be well. But these past glories send one’s personal 
vanity to dead water and this with rain makes wells and 
storms. I will not bore you any more with the girl unless any- 
thing very charming in the way of reflection crops up; but 
should it I must give way. My table is covered with wrecks 
of moths — it makes me sad. I am so very humane this nigh t. 
So landscape does not attract you, William? I can quite 
understand that in the abstract; but think of one thing — what 
wonderful invention landscape is. How it employs one’s 
time — keeps still, has no exciting effect on the nerves — and 
then— then you will do it as I do. Then after all perhaps it’s 
as interesting as doing people’s faces. I know one thing 
largely true: I believe that men seem small beside it; one has 
only to trot one’s model out to find this. Then think of the 


soothing effect; don’t you feel it in the evening? In this The money 
wonderful city of insects and stillness I do — it makes one nuisance 
feel devilish ridiculous sometimes with all the petty am- 
bitions and jealousies that follow us through those big cities. 

‘Perhaps Omar or Browning don’t seem small beside all 
this ; but then these people arrive at being perfect symbolists 
using external things as an architect uses colour — only 
beautiful colours mind you. I have achieved 3 or 4 small bad 
toiles which are all carefully packed up as so much gold 
above my head — more carefully packed than painted — one 
might say from my brilliant example of this June. When the 
lion loved, a painter became he and then perhaps a fisher- 
man — and ended then in the Royal Academy perhaps, if 
he fished sufficient imbecility out of his passion and so on. 

I am stuck here fervently awaiting money in a letter, like an 
American student; having given my lost one all my super- 
fluous coin — the money nuisance. I have accepted giving my 
unholy presence to Dujardin. “Chevalier du Passe” (with 
an eyeglass perhaps) of to-morrow, and the night after a 
dinner — so you see I ought to be in Paris — after these few 
days the Lord knoweth where I shall be — perhaps come and 
see you and dear Salle for a day or two. No, these round water 
marks are not tears, only flies from the soda and milk I am 
imbibing. It stays and stays and stays; I haven’t cried since 
my brother died 8 years ago — what a boast! Talking of 
brothers, thank that brother of yours when you write. He is 
a good fellow to think of me. I am glad you had a good time 
in London — I am to dine with Lautrec soon if all be well. 

And then we shall hear about it. What late hours I am keep- 
ing; when I was married I always went to bed at ten — ten 
indeed ! sometimes 8.30. But don’t envy my feminine society. 

I have no more of it. I have lots of hope of seeing you 
again — you two or three know my best and worst, such is the 
magnet of friendship — the worst is hard to swallow and true 
friends don’t spit at me. 



A widower again How like Conder his letters were! with a vagueness, a 
wantonness, a wistfulness all their own. He tried hard to 
forget Germaine ; but life at Chantemesle without her proved 
unendurable, and he soon followed her to Paris. 

I was trying my hand at figure painting for the first time, 
at Montigny, and was absorbed in this new task. Hence, 
probably, my reference to not caring about landscape. When 
I got back to Paris, Germaine had left Conder again, and 
Conder was in the country. He wrote me from Vetheuil: 

a la Crosnibe , 
par Vetheuil. 


My dear Will, 

I don’t know if this letter will find you in Paris or Mon- 
tigny. I send it to the latter. I am no longer as you will see 
at Chantemesle, but about a mile thereabouts to the East on 
the outskirts of Vetheuil. 

I am again a widower and finding the life solitary ; took this 
house with Anquetin for the season. The house itself is large 
and we have some six acres of very delightful upland behind 
with chalk inland — before the house the road and the Seine. 
If you care to come we shall be glad to have you, if you can 
content yourself with a rough and tumble kind of existence. 
We have a cook, a friend of Anquetin’s friend Templier, and 
ladies’ society is not wanting as A. seems to have an immense 
stock of ladies in waiting; so the house is full of new people. 
Perhaps the life has not quite enough monotony for steady 
work, but one manages to do a little somehow. I hardly did 
a stroke when dear Germaine was with me, though I cannot 
say it was her fault ; rather the spirit of unrest that took hold 
of me. 

These August nights are very beautiful and last night we 
made a jolly party on the Seine — full moon — vain aspirations 
to paint it as always happens — resolves etc. for tomorrow, 


but the sun comes out of the fog at eight and we paint in A message 
green and yellow — poor moon. Germaine 

Anquetin is a good fellow and we get along splendidly. 

If you see Germaine in Paris give her my love and say I’m 
not a bad fellow at bottom, if a little bit of a nuisance to most 
people — I haven’t said a word in reply to your regrets — I 
fancy them a good thing as you have twenty years and lots 
more to come. I hope you will have new loves to waste in 
masses before the aspiration can be realised. Don’t misjudge 
my sentiment — or think that I would take any standpoint — 

I tell you after all like most people who advise you what you 
know already — and we are better in the fight than out at our 
age. I am in hopes of seeing you in a few days; and bring 
something to amuse yourself and forget the bother of the 
studies that don’t please.... 

Frazier’s brother came down for a day or two on his 
bicycle some two weeks ago. Anquetin enjoys galloping a 
horse and many women — I too, but it’s a rude affair to love 
and makes one woman enough — however. 

I have a wonderful subject to paint in the mornings, some 
oak and willow trees, and a rosy bank that Apollo might have 
run down to find some live nymphs. Streeton sends his love 
to you and wants to know about a pastel you promised him. 

Innocent Streeton. Well goodbye, love and try to come down. 


But Conder couldn’t keep long away from Germaine. 
Unfortunately, during the weeks at Vetheuil, the beautiful 
Germaine had become friendly with Dujardin. The friend- 
ship ripened, but the estrangement between Conder and the 
lady again proved impermanent and Dujardin found himself 
deserted. Relations became in consequence strained. One 
night, Conder and I were dining at the Taveme Anglaise, 
when suddenly Dujardin strode in, glowered at Conder, 
walked straight to our table and said: ‘ Bonsoir Rothenstein, 
je regrette de vous voir en si mauvaise compagnie.’ Conder 

1 19 

An affair of flushed scarlet, rose, raised his arm and made a gesture of 
honour striking Dujardin. I held his arm; Dujardin retired and sat 
down at another table. Conder sent a waiter with his card 
and Dujardin, calling for writing materials, sent across a note 
tome:' Mon cher Rothenstein, M. Conder m’a fait venir sa 
carte; je voudrais bien savoir si je dois me tenir chez moi 
demain et a quelle heure. Pardonnez-moi de recourir a votre 
intermediate pour le savoir, cela tout ofHcieusement, d’ail- 
leurs. Votre Edouard Dujardin.’ What a business! Could 
this be serious? To Conder it was serious enough; I was 
inclined to treat it as a romantic gesture. However, after 
dinner we went up to the Cafe de la Rochefoucauld to talk 
the matter over with Lomont and other French friends. They 
certainly took it seriously. Lomont, in his grave way, said 
that he and I must at once communicate with Dujardin and 
arrange a meeting with two of his friends. For an affair of 
this nature black gloves and black clothes were de rigueur. 
In the morning black gloves were duly purchased, and later 
Lomont and I set out for Dujardin’s flat. Dujardin, who was 
expecting us, at once introduced us to two gentlemen, also 
in black coats and gloves, and retired. The matter was dis- 
cussed with the utmost solemnity. Lomont claimed that 
Conder, being the insulted party, had the choice of weapons ; 
the other two gendemen disagreed ; it was Dujardin who was 
the aggrieved party — Conder had made a gesture of striking, 
technically he had struck a blow. This was not Lomont’s 
opinion; no blow had actually been struck. Finally, after 
much argument, it was decided that Conder should have the 
choice of weapons. We had our instructions; Conder was 
no swordsman — we chose pistols. We prepared to retire. 
But before we left, Lomont, who knew the rules, pleaded for 
a reconciliation; so serious a culmination should at least be 
reconsidered; seeing that Dujardin had not been struck, 
Seriously, gentlemen, was there a sufficient cause for an 
encounter?’ I forget the details of the final arrangement. We 
returned to the Cafe de la Rochefoucauld where Conder was 
sitting surrounded by friends, and when we gravely informed 


him that the regrettable incident was to be considered at an Painting Conder 

end, Conder was half relieved and half vexed. I blush to say, 

serious as the matter was for Conder, to me it had a co mi c 

side — too comic for discretion. I came on Dujardin’s note 

only the other day among a lot of papers, and was reminded 

of my one and only experience as a potential second in an 

affair of honour. 

I was, at the time, painting Conder in his studio, in a long 
overcoat and tall hat. It was the first and only painting 
I showed at the Salon du Champs de Mars. Conder wished 
me to make him look more Daumieresque, to stylise his coat 
and give him a fatale and romantic appearance. He was a 
bom stylist; I was by nature a realist, and I already felt 
dimly that style should be intrinsic in one’s work, not a thing 
imposed. I painted other and similar full-length figures, one 
of a French literary precieux , Marcel Boulanger, in a frock- 
coat and a black stock; also a self-portrait, acquired, with 
a number of other canvases, by Conder’s friend, de Vallom- 
breuse, when I came to leave Paris. 

Marcel Boulanger was one of the few among my French 
friends who asked me to his home. He had a very small 
library, that contained only the few books he held worth 
reading — precious editions, beautifully bound ; and while his 
mother’s friends sat down to their cards, he, with a few chosen 
friends, mostly dandies like himself, would discuss the latest 
writers and poets. 

Another friend who introduced me to his family was 
Maurice Faure. His father was the famous opera singer, who 
had been a constant supporter of Manet. The Fames’ house 
was full of Manet’s paintings; among them the picture of the 
Luxembourg Gardens, now in the National Gallery, and a 
striking portrait of Faure in the rdle of Hamlet. 

I was fairly well read in French nineteenth-century litera- 
ture, and had several literary friends. Besides the Latin 
Quarter poets, I used to meet Mallarme, Rodenbach, Henri 
de Regnier, Andre Gide, Camille Mauclair, Montesquiou, 

Remy de Gourmont and, most frequently, Edouard Dujardin 


Books and and Marcel Schwob. My zest for Zola was past; Balzac and 
authors Stendhal, Flaubert and Maupassant were my chosen writers ; 
among poets, Baudelaire and Verlaine. Conder also adulated 
Verlaine. Marcel Boulanger introduced me to the writings 
of Barbey d’Aurevilly and Villiers de l’lsle-Adam, and Les 
Diaboliques and Contes Cruels became favourite stories of 




At Whistler’s I first met Joseph Pennell. I felt, the More meetings 
i\ moment I methim, that he disliked me at sight. We were 
speaking of Mallarme, and I happened to praise his poetry; 

Pennell sneered at me for affecting to understand what 
baffled other people. He was so rude that when he left, 

Whistler was apologetic, saying: ‘Never mind, Parson; you 
know, I always had a taste for bad company.’ After my 
return to England Pennell remained steadily hostile. 

Walter Sickert also came to the rue du Bac. I took to him 
at once. He and Whistler were close friends, but Whistler 
seemed to have some grievance against him, fancied or real, 
and Sickert was quiet and a little constrained. I was to see 
much of him later, and to find him, not less, but more 
fascinating on closer acquaintance. 

During this spring, Pearsall Smith brought a friend of 
his, Lord Basil Blackwood, to my studio, whose father, 

Lord Dufferin, was then Ambassador in Paris. He was 
staying at the Embassy and wished to see something other 
than official life, something of studio-life and Montmartre. 

And he wished me to draw his portrait. A charming person 
I thought him, and was pleased when he asked me to Balliol 
to stay with him there. 

One day a young American came up to me at some party. 

He had a letter; he was told I knew everyone in Paris; would 
I introduce him to Whistler, and to some of the French 
writers? He was handsome, richly dressed, and spoke as 


Davis out though he were a famous writer. I knew nothing of his 
to reform writing, but he was clearly a robust flower of American 
muscular Christianity — healthy, wealthy, and, in America, 
wise. His particular friend was Charles Dana Gibson, the 
popular creator of the type of which Davis himself (it was 
he) was a radiant example. 

Richard Harding Davis had never met any artists like 
Conder and me; he was respectful of our dazzling intellects; 
but he regretted that we were not, like himself, noble and 
virtuous. We puzzled him sadly; he even at times had doubts 
in regard to himself; but these doubts, when in the morning 
before his glass he brushed his rich, shining hair and shaved 
his fresh, firm chin and called to mind the sums his short 
stories brought him, proved fleeting as last night’s dream. 
I liked Davis; I was touched at his wanting to make me a 
better and seemlier person, a sort of artistic boy-scout, 
springing smartly to attention before embarking on the good, 
wholesome work of art I was to achieve each day. He knew 
Basil Blackwood, and encouraged my going to Oxford; to 
mix with healthy young aristocrats would do me all the good 
in the world; but when later he heard I was seeing Walter 
Pater, he lost hope. 

I also had a visit from a young journalist, Grant Richards, 
secretary to W. T. Stead, who had managed for the first time 
to come to Paris. Unlike Davis, he was frankly envious of 
the life we led, of the company we kept, of our familiarity 
with a world from which he was shut off. Some day he would 
get away from the obnoxious Stead, a man with no feeling 
for beauty, a kill-joy, a fusty-musty Puritan. To make up 
for the dreary letters he must copy during the day, he read 
with avidity the most venturesome books he could get. He 
was full of Dorian Gray , which he admired more than I did 
— he had never read A Reborns, and did not knowhow much 
Wilde had taken from Huysmans. He was enthusiastic in 
his appreciation of my drawings and paintings and Conder’s 
fans, and begged me, when I came to London, to stay in his 
flat, which he shared with his cousin, young Grant Allen, 


and with Frederick Whelen. How hospitable English people A commission 
seemed, I thought, compared with the French 1 from John Lane 

About the same time came D. S. MacColl, the protagonist 
of Whistler and Degas in England. He was visiting Paris. 

Meeting Conder, he at once fell in love with his painting, 
with which he never fell out of love. He knew Whistler, 
had dined with him at the rue du Bac, and afterwards called 
on him at his studio. Whistler came to the door, palette and 
brushes in hand and declared he was hard at work. MacColl 
ran his fingers across his brushes, which were dry and devoid 
of paint, and Whistler, laughing, let him in. Hearing I was 
going to Oxford, MacColl very kindly gave me letters to 
Frederick York Powell and Walter Pater. 

I spent a pleasant week with Basil Blackwood at Balliol, 
and met many people, among them York Powell at Christ 
Church; on one occasion I scribbled some caricatures of 
Verlaine and Rodin and other people whom Powell knew, 
which seemed to amuse him. A day or two later he met 
John Lane, and showed him these scraps, suggesting that 
Lane, who was on the look-out for fresh talent, might get me 
to do a set of Oxford portraits. Lane wrote to me, and I saw 
him on my way through town. The upshot was, he agreed 
to publish 24 drawings of prominent Oxonians, for which he 
would pay me £120. This was an exciting commission; I was 
to begin work at the commencement of the autumn term. 

Returning to Paris I told Whistler of my good fortune. 

I thought of making pastel drawings; Whistler said ‘Why 
not do lithographs? Go to Way, he will put you up to all 
the tricks.’ 

Incidentally, I did Whistler an ill turn before leaving Paris. 

Early in the year I had a femme de minage who pilfered. 

A girl who sat to me recommended in her place a young 
brother who wanted a job. He proved a handy and pre- 
sentable lad; he wore a green waistcoat with sleeves, and 
looked very smart. When I gave up my studio, Whisder 
asked me what was to become of Eugene, and decided to try 
him. He proved satisfactory, I heard, for a time; then he 


Farewell to vanished, together with some pieces of Whistler’s old silver. 

Paris He was caught, tried and imprisoned ; but the silver was lost ; 
he had melted it down. 

When the time came to give up my studio, I wondered 
whether I was wise to leave Paris. I had dug myself in, as 
it were, into Paris life ; my sympathies, too, were with French 
painting. I loved Paris and I had made many friends. My 
memories of London were not very happy ones ; Whistler 
and Oscar Wilde had both extolled life in Paris, to the dis- 
advantage of London. Conder thought I was making a great 
mistake, that I would soon have a name in Paris, whereas 
people in England wouldn’t understand what I was aiming at. 
But Lane’s commission was not one to be lightly refused. 
I was always ready for fresh experience. 

Before I left I destroyed the most worthless among my 
drawings and canvases. My friends begged or bought a 
number of those they thought worth preserving; a good 
number were acquired by a friend, de Vallombreuse. Richard 
Harding Davis, too, bought some pastels. With the money 
I got I was able to pay my debts, owed chiefly to colour 
merchants and framers. Then I prepared to go off for a 
summer’s painting to Montigny. Uncertain whether or not 
I would return to Paris, I gave up my studio. It was taken 
by Bernard Harrison, Frederick Harrison’s second son, a 
landscape painter. 

Before I left Paris I heard that Verlaine was in hospital, 
and more than usually miserable. Though Verlaine was uni- 
versally admired as a poet, his habits proved too much even 
for his friends, as I mentioned before. Latin Quarter poets, 
who were not over particular, had helped him again and 
again, but he had become impossible. Still, it seemed hard 
that a man of his genius should be deserted by all, unaided 
and wretched. I loved his poetry, and knowing him to be ill 
I wrote and told him how much I cared for his poems. 
A message came — would I go to see him at the Hopital 

Verlaine was pleased, I could see, at my visit. We spoke 


about Engl and, where he had been, and of his memories of Visiting 

London and Brighton. His talk was amusing, with a child- V zrlaine 

like kind of humour. He liked being in hospital ; he was clean, 

and, in addition, perfectly sober. He had a Silenus-like head; 

his baldness made his forehead look higher than in fact it 

was, and his small brown eyes with yellow lights and with 

their corners turned up, looked queer. He was very pale. 

His eyes had a half candid, half dissipated look, the effects 
of drink and of white nights ; but they also had at times an 
engaging candour. Beneath were broad cheek bones, a short, 

Socratic nose, heavy moustaches, and an untidy, straggling 
beard, turning grey. One almost expected to find tall, pointed 
ears under his thin locks. 

He begged me to come and see him again, and I went back 
to the hospital several times. He talked much of his illness, 
and of his poverty, complaining bitterly of the miserable 
sums Vanier paid for his poems — and of the trouble he had 
to get paid. Lately he had been able to make a little money 
by giving some conferences in Holland and Belgium; but 
the money had all disappeared. Why not give some readings 
of his poems in England? I suggested. I was sure he would 
meet with a cordial reception. The idea of going to England 
pleased him; he talked again of the days spent at Brighton, 
where he had been a schoolmaster, and of visits to London 
with Rimbaud. The doctors and nurses, he said, were all kind 
to him; he had nothing to pay, and lived a l ail like a fighting 
cock. It was his leg that troubled him; but he would soon 
be out, and then I must come and see him, and meet his friend 
Eugenie. She was a good creature, he said, mais quelquefois 
un peu rosse’. 

I heard from him when he came out of hospital; would 
I come and see him at the rue Descartes ? I found him living 
in a single room, poorly furnished, and not very clean. A short, 
shapeless, coarse-featured woman with dark hair dressed 
close over a low forehead, with the hoarse, throaty voice of 
the banlieue — could this be she to whom Verlaine had written 
so many passionately amorous verses, and to whom, despite 


The poet's infidelities, he returned again and again? Eugenie treated me 
mistress with humiliating respect, not as an artist, but as a kind of 
miche ; she was on what she thought was her best behaviour. 
Verlaine must have told her of English editions, or possible 
conferences, which to her meant, tout bonnement , la galette. 
On subsequent visits the Krantz resumed easier ways and a 
more homely manner. She threw out hints that anything 
coming to Verlaine should pass through her hands ; she 
whispered terrible things into my ears, as to what would 
happen otherwise. Verlaine, with his shrewd and unashamed 
frankness, taunted her with her greed. She continually 
robbed him, he cried; he never had a sou, quoi ! hadn’t even 
enough to buy himself a shirt and collars; as for drinking, 
why he didn’t want to drink, but still, nom d’un nom, some- 
times one wanted to offer a glass to a friend. There would be 
fearful engueulades , and then, like two cats in a yard, they 
would walk away from each other, and Verlaine would 
quietly resume his talk about literature, other poets, and 
plans for new poems. There was a queer mixture of ribaldry 
and delicacy in his talk, and something child-like and in- 
gratiating in his manner. 

Before returning to England, I spent the s umm er at 
Montigny-sur-Loing, a charming little village between Moret 
and Marlotte, where for a few francs weekly I hired an 
untenanted house in which I could paint. I had brought 
down a model to sit for me. There was a little shop at Mont- 
martre where beautiful old dresses were to be had, for a few 
francs, and I had purchased some dresses and some bonnets 
as well of the 1830 period, and was eager my model should 
wear them. So she decked herself out in this past finery, and 
I did some paintings which were later shown at the New 
English Art Club. 

Montigny was only a few miles below Grez. I had been 
there before, with my friend, von Hofmann, when we had 
made the acquaintance of Armand Dayot, and of his charm- 
ing daughter, Madeleine. 

There were no other painters at Montigny; but Grez, a 



mile or two away, was ‘an artists’ village’, well known to 
English and American painters on account of its association 
with Robert Louis Stevenson. Ernest Parton, whom I met 
at the inn there, had known Grez well in Stevenson’s timef — 
wild days they were then, he said. I couldn’t associate 
Parton with anything wild; he was a meek and successful 
painter of birch trees. Nobody wanted anything but birch 
trees from him, he complained; having once made a success 
with a painting of birch trees at the Royal Academy, he was 
sentenced to paint these, and nothing but these, all his life. 
At the inn too was Sarah Brown, the most famous model in 
Paris; whenever she came to Julian’s she was mobbed; the 
whole school crushed and crowded into the studio where she 
sat. In many ways the English are more generous than the 
French, but the French are generously grateful for the gift 
of beauty; a sympathetic trait, which plays its part in sup- 
porting the self-respect of the class from which our models 
came. Sarah was fair, and her figure, small bosomed, had 
the creamy unity of a Titian. Perhaps the figures of our 
models when they emerged from the clothes then worn, the 
high shouldered bodices, with their wasp-cut waists, the rigid 
corsets and long, bell-shaped skirts, seemed yet more nobly, 
more radiantly classical by contrast. And contrariwise, after 
seeing young girls looking like goddesses on the model 
stand, how disillusioning to see them when they resume their 
poor, trumpery finery; they seem shrunken to half their size. 

Sarah Brown at Grez was very entertaining. She was en 
villegtature, agreeably sentimental over trees and birds, the 
flowers in the fields, envying the country wenches their in- 
nocent lives — O Maupassant ! — but, after dinner and a glass 
of vin doux , not sorry to have a rapin from Paris to chatter 
with. The last time I saw Sarah was at the Bal des Quat’z 
Arts, whither she had come, carried by four students in a 
litter as Cleopatra, clad only in a golden net. 

Another village near by was Mario tte, where a Montmartre 
friend, Armand Point, had a rose-embowered cottage. Stay- 
ing with him were two lady friends, both beautiful and 


Sarah Brown 
at Grei 



A lonely ride intelligent, whom he put into his pictures. Point, before 
Maurice Denis and in a less personal way, had studied the 
Italian primitives, and wanted to bring something of their 
poetry and simplicity into modern painting. He was one of 
the few French painters who knew the work of the English 
Pre-Raphaelites. He had a charming nature, and as an artist 
he had much in common with Howard Cushing, who was 
likewise a lover of the early Italians. 

Cushing was staying at Moret, where I went to see him. 
I remember the occasion only too well. Moret was ten miles 
away, and I bicycled over. That morning I had read of an 
attack on a cyclist in the forest of Fontainbleau, near by. 
A cord had been drawn across the road at night-fall- the 
cyclist rode into it, was thrown from his machine, was set 
upon, robbed, and left dangerously injured. It was a fait 
divers which had little effect on me when I read it; but when 
I left Moret in the evening and was riding back in the dark 
through the forest, the incident suddenly came to my mind. 
There was no moon, and the road was deserted. Suddenly 
cold fear came upon me. Never did io miles seem so endless. 
Now and again as sinister sounds would come from the 
forest, my heart beat fast. Suddenly — what was that ? my 
heart stood still, and a great white owl flew out into the 
night. I arrived at Montigny exhausted and covered with 




I n the autumn I prepared to migrate to Oxford. Basil Migration 
Blackwood had asked me to stay with him at Balliol for a Oxford 
week or two, while I looked for rooms. York Powell offered 
to put me up later at Christ Church, and Mrs Woods had 
asked me to Trinity College. So there was plenty of time to 
look round before I settled in lodgings. 

Before going to Oxford, I spent some days with Grant 
Richards in London, making final arrangements with John 
Lane about the book I was to do, and trying stones and 
transfer papers at Way’s printing office. 

The firm of Thos. Way was an old-established business of 
lithographic printers. They were Whistler’s pet printers. It 
was at their office in Wellington Street that he made his early 
experiments on stone and on transfer paper, sometimes using 
•wash as well as point. He would come there often to work 
on his stones. The Ways had been associated with Whistler 
for many years. Old Way, besides owning a unique collec- 
tion of Whistler’s prints, had acquired many of his paintings. 

He was a cross-grained old man, with an uncertain temper, 
but where Whistler was concerned, a willing slave. I re- 
ceived a warm welcome from father and son; Tom Way, 
whom his father kept in rigid subservience, knew all the 
processes and tricks of the trade, and took endless trouble to 
help me with my first essays. 

Grant Richards was still acting as secretary to Stead, a task 
he much disliked. He had literary and sartorial ambitions, 

131 9-2 

Encounter neither one nor the other received encouragement from Stead 
with Stead nor indeed from Richards’ awn family. He, too, looked with 
envy on my frock-coat; on my freedom and my reckless 
ways. Meeting Stead in London, I sympathised with Richards. 
Stead, journalist, mystic, reformer, rescuer of fallen women, 
imperialist, and goodness knows what else, didn’t impress 
me. He had the typical nonconformist presence; the way his 
hair grew suggested nonconformity, so did the rather ob- 
vious piercing eyes. A strong plain man, whose mission was 
naturally wasted onme. Other of Richards’ friends were more 
to my taste, especially Le Gallienne, whose appearance was 
fascinating. He looked like Botticelli’s head of Lorenzo. I at 
once itched to draw him, and spent a week-end with him 
and his young wife at his house at Hanwell. A charming 
person he was, every inch a poet, with long hair, wide collar, 
and high ideals. He had recently published his English 
Poems, which helped to revive the fashion for reading poetry 
— a feather, truly, in his cap. He had attracted the notice of 
Oscar Wilde by his poetic appearance as well as by his 
verses; at the same time he had caught some of Oscar’s 
mannerisms, too. I remember his showing me a photograph 
of Yeats, of whom I then knew nothing, of which he 
nervously asked what I thought. He evidently thought much 
of Yeats; but he was not displeased at my ignorance of who 
he was. We parted swearing eternal friendship. I was to 
make a drawing to appear in his next book, and would soon 
return for the purpose. Each had flattered the other, as young 
men on the threshold of life are eager to do. 

I went with Richards to see A Woman of No Importance . , 
Oscar Wilde’s new play which had taken the town by storm. 
Oscar was delighted, as he had been on the success of his 
first play. Lady Windermere’s Fan. At last he had achieved 
a popular success. In addition, he was making a great deal 
of money. In Paris he had been rather apologetic about his 
first play ; as though to write a comedy were rather beneath 
a poet. When I saw it I thought, on the contrary, here is the 
genuine Wilde, making legitimate use of the artifice which 


was, in fact, natural to him; like his wit, indeed, in which his Mrs Wilde 
true genius lay. I know now that the money his plays brought 
Wilde did neither him nor anyone else much good. He was 
offended with me when I met him in London; he had heard 
I took sides with Whistler against him, though there was no 
need to listen to Whistler to hear disagreeable things about 
Wilde; there were plenty of people who disliked and mis- 
trusted him, I was finding out. I reassured him, and went to 
see him and his wife at Tite Street, where I also met his two 
charming boys, Vyvyan and Cyril. I liked Mrs Wilde. She 
wasn’t clever, but she had distinction and candour. With 
brown hair framing her face, and a Liberty hat, she looked 
like a drawing by Frank Miles, or (to name a better artist), 
by Walter Crane. I knew little of the difficulties which were 
beginning between Wilde and his wife; they seemed on 
affectionate terms; he delighted in his children; only I felt 
something wistful and a little sad about Mrs Wilde. 

One of Mrs Wilde’s intimate friends was Mrs Walter 
Palmer, who was a close friend of George Meredith and of 
his daughter, Mariette, afterwards Mrs Julian Sturgis. One 
eventful evening, George Meredith came to a party at Mrs 
Palmer’s, at which I was present. What a noble head! I 
thought, as he sat on a sofa, and how like one of his own 
characters he talked. This was the only occasion on which 
I met Mrs Wilde at a party with Oscar. I went down with 
her to supper, and later, when she discovered me to be, like 
herself, a whole-hearted Meredithian, she took me up to the 
great man. He was still on his sofa, surrounded by a bevy 
of fair ladies, and we joined the group and listened to his 
scintillating talk. 

I was anxious to meet Ricketts and Shannon, of whom 
Wilde often spoke so admiringly; he had shown me the 
drawings they did for his House of Pomegranates , and 
Ricketts’ lovely cover; and it surprised me to hear of these 
gifted men, of whom we knew nothing in Paris; so I went 
to the Vale one evening with Oscar. I fell at once under their 
charm, and hoped, when settled in London, to see more of 


Aubrey them and their work. They spoke to me of Beardsley, who, 
Beardsley earlier that year, had called on me in Paris. He had lately 
sprung into fame through an article by Pennell in a new 
periodical — The Studio. He had seemed interested in my 
paintings in Paris, and welcomed me warmly when I went to 
see him. 

Holme, who owned The Studio , which had at once achieved 
a success with Pennell’s opening article on Beardsley, wanted 
to have articles on others of the younger men and approached 
me about it. But I objected to Holme, for not paying his 
artists, though he paid his writers. We artists had so little 
chance of earning money, and it seemed only fair that we 
should be paid at least a small fee for our work, the more so 
since the illustrations were the essential feature of Holme’s 
paper. Holme was willing to pay me for writing, and I 
wrote some Paris notes, and reviewed an Academy ex- 
hibition — very irreverently, I fear; but we finally quarrelled 
over the non-payment of reproductions. But I was unfair 
to Holme, for I learned later that his practice was the 
usual one. 

Beardsley was living in Cambridge Terrace, Pimlico, with 
his mother and his sister Mabel. The walls of his rooms were 
distempered a violent orange, the doors and skirtings were 
painted black; a strange taste, I thought; but his taste was 
all for the bizarre and exotic. Later it became somewhat 
chastened. I had picked up a Japanese book in Paris, with 
pictures so outrageous that its possession was an embarrass- 
ment. It pleased Beardsley, however, so I gave it him. The 
next time I went to see him, he had taken out the most in- 
decent prints from the book and hung them around his 
bedroom. Seeing he lived with his mother and sister, I was 
rather taken aback. He affected an extreme cynicism, how- 
ever, which was startling at times; he spoke enormities; mots 
were the mode, and provided they were sufficiently witty, 
anything might be said. Didn’t someone say of Aubrey that 
even his lungs were affected? It was a time when everyone, 
in file wake of Whistler, wanted to take out a patent for 


brilliant sayings. Referring to my bad memory, Beardsley Beardsley 
remarked ‘It doesn’t matter what good things one says in at work 
front of Billy, he’s sure to forget them’. 

Beardsley was an impassioned worker, and his hand was 
unerringly skilful. But for all his craftsmanship there was 
something hard and insensitive in his line, and narrow and 
small in his design, which affected me unsympathetically. He, 
too, remarkable boy as he was, had something harsh, too 
sharply defined in his nature — like something seen under an 
arc-lamp. His understanding was remarkable; his mind was 
agate-like, almost too polished, in its sparkling hardness; but 
there was that in his nature which made him an affectionate 
and generous friend. Max Beerbohm, in the sympathetic and 
discerning study he wrote on Beardsley after his death, said 
no one ever saw Beardsley at work. I could not quite under- 
stand this, as Beardsley pressed me, whenever I came to 
town, to make use of his workroom. Before going to 
Oxford and while I was mainly there, I was glad enough to 
have somewhere to work when in town. Beardsley seemed 
to get on perfecdy well as he sat at one side of a large table, 
while I sat at the other. He was then beginning his Salome 

He would indicate his preparatory design in pencil, de- 
fining his complicated patterns with only the vaguest pencil 
indication underneath, over which he drew with the pen with 
astonishing certainty. He would talk and work at the same 
time; for, like all gifted people, he had exceptional powers of 

But one was always aware of the eager, feverish brilliance 
of the consumptive, in haste to absorb as much of life as 
he could in the brief space he instinctively knew was his 
sorrowful portion. Poor Aubrey ! he was a tragic figure. It 
was as though the gods had said, * Only four years more will 
be allowed you; but in those four years you shall experience 
what others take forty years to learn.’ Knowledge he seemed 
to absorb through his pores. Always at his drawing desk, 
he still found time to read an astonishing variety of books. 


Hunting the He knew his Balzac from cover to cover, and explored the 
‘decadents’ courts and alleys of French and English seventeenth and 
eighteenth century literature. Intensely musical, too, he 
seemed to know the airs of all the operas. No wonder Oscar 
thought him wonderful, and chose him at once as the one 
artist to illustrate his Salome. 

Since the first appearance of his work in The Studio , 
Beardsley’s drawings were constandy abused; none of the 
illustrators of the day would say a word in his favour. Worse 
still, they joined the howling crowd in crying for Beardsley 
to be put in the stocks. Their stupidity, meanness and blind- 
ness were even more abnormal than was Beardsley’s genius. 
A similar outcry arose over Max Beerbohm’s first essays; in 
fact, we were all to be lumped together as ‘decadents’. On 
the other hand, a few people hailed Beardsley as one of 
the greatest draughtsmen who had ever appeared; such 
exaggerated praise is scarcely less irritating than stupid 

While I worked at Beardsley’s, I stayed with Grant 
Richards, a hospitable person. Many people came to his 
flat at Rossetti Mansions, among others, Lady Burton. 
I was prejudiced against her, as I heard that she had lately 
destroyed the unpublished manuscripts of her husband, Sir 
Richard Burton, a wanton act, it seemed to me, and 
since she spoke so adulatingly of him, the more to be 

An attractive character, who came often to Richards’ flat, 
was old Dr Bird, who had been Leigh Hunt’s doctor and 
was full of stories of Hunt and his circle. Later I became an 
intimate friend of his sister. Miss Alice Bird. At her death 
our last link with the people who had known Keats and 
Shelley was severed. 

When I had sufficiently practised drawing on stone at 
Way’s I proceeded to Oxford, to begin work on the portraits 
for Lane. As I left school unusually early, I found, up at 
Oxford, many old schoolmates, in their second and third 
years. It was pleasant to meet Hammond, Meade, Dyson, 


Walrond and other Bradfordians again. Many Bradford Belloc and 
scholarships "were held at Queen’s College. Hammond and others 
Meade were at St John’s. At Balliol I met a very entertaining 
set of men, none more so than Basil Blackwood. He had 
great gifts, about which he was very modest; he would, I 
thought, go far, if he cared, as a politician or diplomat, but 
he lacked ambition ; a little diffident — a little indolent perhaps. 

He had a turn for drawing, and as B. T. B. did the amusing 
pictures for Hilaire Belloc’s Bad Child’ s Bookof Beasts. Belloc 
himself, although he had taken his degree, had come back to 
Balliol for further reading. I was astonished at the copious- 
ness and brilliance of his intellect, and of his talk. Half 
French and half English, he seemed equally at home in the 
life and literature of either country. I rather fancied myself 
for my small knowledge of French literature, but before 
Belloc’s encyclopaedic mind I had need to be modest. He 
had the sparkling energy of the Gallic temper; emphatic and 
assertive, brimful of ideas, he was formidable in attack. The 
man who stood up to him best was Hamilton Grant; his 
quick wit would parry Belloc’s vehement statements. Round 
these three were gathered a number of attractive young men: 

Claud Russell, Lord Alexander Thynne, Hubert Howard, 

Lord Kerry, Oliver Borthwick, Geoffrey Cookson, Anthony 
Henley and J. F. Kershaw. A sudden change, it was, from 
Whistler, Oscar Wilde, Conder and Lautrec, to this bright, 
well-bred, youthful company. No doubt I tried to impress 
them with my Parisian experiences, as a ‘dog’ who had led 
the devil of a life, one who was on familiar terms with poets 
and painters whose names rang musically in the ears of young 
men of my age. I must have appeared a strange apparition in 
Oxford, with my longish hair, and spectacles, and my un- 
Oxonian ways and approach to things and people. Moreover, 

I was supposed to be an Impressionist, a terrible reputation 
to have at the time. 

When I left Balliol, I went to stay with York Powell at 
Christ Church. York Powell was one of the personalities of 
Oxford, an historian, an Icelandic scholar, and an authority 


A bad beginning ungrateful task. Young eyes look unpitying on old age, 
knowing nought of its early splendour. Older artists can 
catch fleeting traces of youthful fire in the features of contem- 
poraries whom they knew in their prime. Work premeditated 
is like a drop of water, seemingly clear; once undertaken, it 
is like the same drop of water seen through a magnifying 
glass, no longer pure, but swarming with life. So, all at 
once, my task was fertile with surprises and troubles. But 
with the hopefulness and cocksureness of youth, I foresaw 
them not, but plunged gaily into my task. 

The first drawing I did of Sir Henry Acland was a feeble 
one, which both he and his daughter, quite properly, disliked. 
I should never have had it put down on the stone. T.ikp 
many young men, I was conceited and thought that any ob- 
jection to a drawing was a proof of its worth. I respected 
Sir Henry’s taste for Ruskin’s drawings, but his bias against 
anything new doubtless encouraged me to believe that his 
judgment of a contemporary drawing was worthless. I myself 
had misgivings about the drawing; and Sir Henry’s opinion, 
whether worthless or not, was far-reaching, for there r am p 
a letter from Elkin Mathews telling me that the publication 
had failed largely on account of the antipathy of Sir Henry 
Acland and his friends to the portrait of Sir Henry in Part i, 
and the booksellers were rebelling against taking the second 
and future parts. After the first drawing appeared, Sir Henry 
Acland sent me a very courteous letter, with a view to my 
doing another: 

Dear Mr Rothenstein, *^3 

I happened to mention to you my valued friend Mr George 
Richmond the Academician, last night. Should you care 
(though it is a delicate task for me to suggest it) to look at his 
sketch of a few years ago, I can show it you: both original 
and engraving. There is often with every artist a view of 
style and subject — and it is interesting often to compare the 
ideas. Then Mr Richmond sketched with deliberate care. 


I have several of his drawings which I should be delighted 
to show you. 

I am, dear Mr Rothenstein, faithfully yours, 


P.S. Mr Richmond’s engraving is in my room where you 
can see it any time you pass. 

I knew it was hopeless for me to attempt a drawing com- 
parable with George Richmond’s ; alas, I did not sketch with 
deliberate care, but I was willing to try again; fortunately 
my second attempt was a litde more adequate. Nothing 
would have pleased me more than to make a drawing 
worthy of Sir Henry’s handsome presence; there was a cha- 
racter, a distinction about all the men and women connected 
with the Pre-Raphaelites; Sir Henry himself had the grand 
manner, tempered by a rare courtesy, of the older generation 
of Victorians. His house had the stately cosiness of the 
period, full as it was of prints, drawings, fossils, white pea- 
cocks, botanical plates and rosewood furniture. Among 
many paintings was Millais’ portrait of Ruskin, standing by 
a waterfall. While at work on this portrait, Millais fell in love 
with Mrs Ruskin, and in the middle of the sittings ran off 
with her. Sir Henry Acland described how Ruskin later 
insisted that Millais should finish the portrait; it was a duty 
to Art. Millais came, Ruskin stood, and the work was com- 
pleted, without a word having passed between them. 

After Acland came Robinson Ellis, a great character, but 
not handsome like Acland. The eminent Catullus scholar 
wrote agonised letters to Joseph Wells and York Powell. To 
Powell he wrote: ‘Rothenstein’s “character sketch” of me 
seemed to me yesterday so remarkably hideous that I should 
be very unwilling to let it appear. He said he would show it 
to you, and I feel assured you would agree with me. Will you 
let him know unmistakably that it must not appear. I might 
be a Kalmuck Tartar or a Mongol of an unusually horrid 
type. Besides it would be very uncomfortable for the person 


A second 

A sitter's who appears in company of such a monster!’ Both Powell 
scruples and Wells reassured him; then came the following letter: 

Trinity College , 
Oct. 20, 1893 

Dear Sir, 

Both Mr York Powell and Mr Wells of Wadham have 
written to me about the sketch, stating that they have not 
the same objections to it which I confess to feeling when you 
showed it me. I suppose it may be that I for the first time 
saw my true self, and comparing it with previous photo- 
graphs, and with Mr J. Hood’s picture, felt annoyed at coming 
out so dreadfully ugly. For that, I think you cannot deny 
it is, and in a great degree. 

The last thing I should wish to do would be in any way 
to injure you as an artist. But, odd as you may think it, I am 
not convinced that many of my friends would like to recall 
me from your sketch. This says nothing in detraction of your 
powers as an artist: it only means that you took me at an 
unfavourable moment and caught an expression which is not 
very pleasing. Of your sincerity, again, I have not the least 
doubt; but this sketch cannot in any way be said to flatter. 

As you seem to think (which I can believe) that my with- 
drawing from the series would injure you, I have only to say 
that I am very willing to look at the picture again from 2.30 
to 4 to-morrow; and in any case to make my peace with you. 
It is, indeed, a compliment which I do not deserve to be 
thought worthy of any sketch: and perhaps in its finished 
state I may find it more presentable. 

Yours very truly, Robinson kt.t.ts 

Of course I was ready to try again, and Ellis was equally 
willing to sit. The second attempt, as with the drawing of 
Acland, was more satisfactory, both to my sitter and myself. 
Meanwhile Robinson Ellis was made Regius Professor of 
Latin; in reply to my congratulations he wrote from Bourne- 
mouth : * How kind of you to write congratulating me on my 


election. I might not have disgusted you with my parti- Burdon- 
cularity in re your sketch, and yet I am tolerably sure that your Sander sorts 
later sketch will be more likely to please my friends than the rabbits 
other,- so I don’t regret what I made you do; I hope the 
series is selling pretty well: it takes some time before a good 
thing is known, and Oxford criticisms are apt to be cold. 

Many of your portraits will be far more pleasing, of course, 
than mine: and these will make up for the defects of old 
stagers like me. Please, when you come to Oxford, come 
and dine in Hall with me, if on a Sunday in Corpus : if other- 
wise in Trinity.’ Nevertheless, Ellis took a morbid delight in 
praising, among my drawings of other people, the ugliest 
ones — more especially because of the accurate likeness. 

An eminent Victorian, to whom York Powell introduced 
me, was Burdon-Sanderson, a remarkable-looking figure, tall 
and gaunt, with features strangely like Dante’s. He took me 
round his garden, in which I noticed he kept rabbits. I was 
rather touched at this somewhat gloomy, sardonic, old man 
keeping pets. When I got back to Christ Church, I remarked 
on this charming trait during dinner at the High Table, 
upon which the whole company burst into laughter. Only 
then I discovered that Burdon-Sanderson was a famous 
vivisectionist ! 

I had no learning; my reading was restricted to novels, 
and I knew little or nothing of the fame and achievement of 
most of my sitters, among whom were James Murray, editor 
of The New English Dictionary, Ingram Bywater, Arthur 
Sidgwick, Margoliouth, and, of course. Max Muller. I was 
particularly amused at my reception by Max Muller. Before 
I drew him, he went upstairs and fetched an illustrated paper 
with a tailor’s advertisement showing him dressed in a very 
smart frock-coat. This, he observed, was how he wished to 
be drawn! It seems incredible; but unless I dreamt this it 
was so. The drawing done, he took me downstairs to show 
me a large cabinet of photographs, all of himself, and all 
ready signed, with quotations from favourite poets inscribed 
on each. He solemnly presented me with one. Was this too 


Max Beerlohm a dream? And did I also dream of a life-size full-length 
at Oxford photograph of the German Emperor hanging on the wall? 

York Powell delighted in the stories I brought back from 
my sittings. The most unconventional don in Oxford, he 
had no great veneration for some of his colleagues. 

I insisted, much against John Lane’s wishes, on including 
a few portraits of undergraduates among those of the dons, 
arguing that, in a record of contemporary Oxford, under- 
graduates should have a place. So I drew C. B. Fry, the 
greatest all-round athlete of the time; W. A. L. Fletcher, the 
leading oarsman; Hilaire Belloc, and Max Beerbohm. I owed 
my introduction to Max Beerbohm to Viscount St Cyres, a 
Merton man who had taken his degree and was now a 
‘ Reader’ at Christ Church. A baby face, with heavily lidded, 
very light grey eyes shaded by remarkably thick and long 
lashes, a broad forehead, and sleek black hair parted in the 
middle and coming to a queer curling point at the neck; 
a quiet and finished manner; rather tall, carefully dressed; 
slender fingered, with an assurance and experience unusual 
in one of his years — I was at once drawn to Max Beerbohm 
and lost no time in responding to an invitation to breakfast. 
He was living in a tiny house at the far end of Merton Street — 
a house scarcely bigger than a Punch and Judy show. His 
room, blue-papered, was hung with Pellegrini prints from 
Vanity Fair. Beside these, there were some amusing cari- 
catures which, he said modestly, were his own. ‘But they 
are brilliant , I said, and he seemed pleased at my liking 

We met frequendy. Though we were the sam e age, and 
in some ways I had more experience of life than he, his 
seemed to have crystallised into a more finishe d form than 
my own. So had his manners, which were perfect. He was 
delightfully appreciative of anything he was told, seizing the 
inner meaning of any rough observation of men and of 
things, which at once acquired point and polish in contact 
with his understanding mind. Outside Merton only few un- 
dergraduates knew him; all who did know him, admired him. 



His caricatures were sometimes to be seen in Shrimpton’s A companion 

window in the Broad ; and in time, through these, he acquired volume 

some reputation outside his own small circle; for he was 

fastidious in the choice of his friends. My Balliol friends 

scoffed when I spoke of him as the most brilliant man in 


Max Beerbohm was, of course, amused and interested in 
my career as a portraitist at Oxford; he sympathised with 
my difficulties, but could not resist poking fun at my adven- 
tures among the dons. I had shown him Miss Acland’s 
letter, in which she objects to her father’s portrait. One 
morning he wrote me: 

Dear Will, 

I waited a long time for you by the breakfast table: why 
did you not come? I had accepted your invitation — what 
kept you? Tell me. By the way, I should have told you 
before. John Lane has consented to publish a series of cari- 
catures of Oxford Celebrities by me: they are to appear con- 
currently with yours in order to make the running. In case 
any ill feeling should arise between us on this account, I am 
sending you the proofs of the first number. Very satisfactory, 

I think. Do not think harshly of John Lane for publishing 
these things without consulting you — there is a tain t of 
treachery in the veins of every publisher in the Row and, 
after all, though our two styles may have something in 
common, and we have chosen the same subjects, I am sure 
there is room for both of us. 

Yours, max. 

P.S. I have sent a copy of Sir Henry’s picture to Miss 
Acland, she has just acknowledged it; such a nice graceful 
note of thanks. She says it will be one of her chief treasures. 

Little did he think when he penned this note how man y 
portraits he himself was destined to create and, early in his 
career at least, not without similar criticism. 

Max played no games, belonged to no College Society, 
never went to the Union, scarcely even to lectures. While 




Wilde and Max aware of everything that went on in Oxford, he himself kept 
aloof; going nowhere, he seemed to know about everyone; 
unusual wisdom and sound judgment he disguised under the 
harlequin cloak of his wit. He always declared he had read 
nothing — only The Four Georges and Lear’s Book of Non- 
sense — and, later, Oscar Wilde’s Intentions , which he thought 
were beautifully written. 

Wilde came regularly to Oxford during the year I spent 
there. He and Beerbohm Tree were friends, so Max blew 
him already. Max the man appreciated to the full Oscar’s 
prose and his talk; he thought him, in his way, a perfect 
writer; but nothing escaped the clear pitiless grey eye of Max 
the caricaturist, and Oscar Wilde winced under the stinging 
discharge of Max’s pencil. Pater, Max knew only by sight; 
he attempted more than once to caricature him, but couldn’t 
hit on a formula. I tried to show him where he had gone 
wrong, offering to fetch the lithograph I had recendy made 
of Pater; ‘No thanks, dear Will; I never work from photo- 
graphs,’ was Max’s reply. 

There came sometimes to visit Max, Reginald Turner, 
who had recently gone down from Oxford, one of the 
wittiest men, I thought, I had ever met, and one of the 
friendliest. He was then, and has ever remained, one of 
Max’s closest friends; each was at his best when with the 
other; their talk was perfect dualogue. 

At Wadham, as at Balliol, there was a brilliant group of 
men — C. B. Fry, F. E. Smith, John Simon and F. W. Hirst. 
Of these I rather think C. B. Fry had then the widest repu- 
tation in Oxford. Extremely handsome, a triple blue, a good 
scholar, with a frank, unassuming nature, small wonder he 
was a popular hero. After him F. E. Smith played second 
fiddle. Smith had a brilliant but uneasy mind, a gifted tongue 
and obvious ambition. I saw much of him and of Fry during 
my year at Oxford ; the only time I got intoxicated at Oxford 
was when dining with F. E. Smith at some annual function 
at Wadham. He had failed to warn me of the potent effect 
of the warm spiced ale. 


Now not being a member of the University, I saw more 
of University life than most undergraduates. I used to say 
that I was a member of no College, but the belly of all. For, 
associating with both dons and undergraduates, I met with 
generous entertainment. At Exeter were Malcolm Seton and 
O’Flaherty — a brilliant but eccentric Irishman; at Christ 
Church, Lord Beauchamp (the single undergraduate I knew 
who had a whole house, Micklam Hall, for his lodging) and 
John Walter; at Magdalen Lord Balcarres and Lord AJfred 
Douglas, Douglas an erratic but most attractive person, 
defiant of public opinion, generous, irresponsible and ex- 
travagant. He was very good looking, blue-eyed and fair, 
but although a good athlete, he had rather a drooping figure. 
I made pastels of him, and of other undergraduate friends; 
one of Lord Beauchamp, and another of Anthony Henley, 
in whose rooms hung an engraving of an early Henley 
painted by Lely, which might have been done from him; 
they were as like as two peas. Another drawing I made was 
of Arthur Colefax, then a science don at Magdalen. Later, 
when he was married, his wife heard of the drawing and was 
anxious to have it; but "with many others it had long since 
disappeared. Still, my pencil had not, and I often wondered 
why a lost drawing was so precious that it might not be 
drawn again. But most persons covet a picture which some- 
body else has already acquired; and maybe no new drawing 
would have had the value of an earlier one. I also drew 
Trelawney Backhouse, an eccentric undergraduate of Merton. 
He would entertain Max and myself, and in the middle of 
dinner would make some excuse, and leave us for the rest 
of the evening. He worshipped Ellen Terry; once he en- 
gaged a whole row of stalls, which he filled with under- 
graduate friends. He collected jewels, and later, in London, 
he would bring priceless emeralds to show me. Then he 
disappeared. Years after I heard he was living in China, 
when, with J. O. P. Bland, he produced a masterpiece, a 
book on the Empress Dowager. 







A lecture tour T had to go up to London from time to time to take my 
for Ver la ine -L drawings to Way, and there, meeting Arthur Symons, 
I told him of Verlaine’s readiness to give some readings in 
England. He too had heard from Verlaine, and was warmly 
in favour of the project. He promised to make all the arrange- 
ments, and to look after Verlaine while he was in London ; and 
York Powell offered to arrange for a lecture at Oxford. 

Verlaine wrote from more than one address. He had been 
giving conferences in Holland, at Luneville and other places; 
he was still obliged to return to the hospital from time to 
time for treatment: ‘Excusez mon cher ami que je n’ai pas 
repondu plus tot a votre bonne lettre. Mais ma maladie, 
grippe, influenza, engueulade ou le diable ! m’a repris de plus 
belle et mis litteralement sur le flanc.’ He complained that 
he hadn’t yet been paid for his Dutch lectures. ‘Mon inten- 
tion est de parler de la Poesie Frangaise en ce moment du 
siecle (1880-93) avec beaucoup de citations dont plusieurs 
de moi,’ he writes of his coming conference in London; and 
again : ‘ Avez-vous quelques vues sur les projets de conference 
a Londres et ailleurs, s’il y a lieu? Renseignez-moi, je vous 
prie. Je compte sortir bientot, mais vous recevrez de moi 
quelques mots auparavant. En attendant jusqu’a nouvel 
ordre — 1 5 jours 20 francs a peu pres. M. Lane m’a donne 
4 livres pour 2 pieces de vers. C’est tres honnete. J’attends 
encore des nouvelles, a bientot, des notres. Tout a vous, 


P. V.’ A few days later he is back in hospital: ‘Veuillez 
m’indiquer les heures de depart et d’arrivee. Dois-je passer 
par Londres? Et quand aura lieu la conference? Les prix 
des trains et bateaux — les benefices approximates a Oxford 
et Londres/ He wasn’t long detained by the doctors, and 
reached London safely. Here he stayed with Symons at 
Fountain Court. He gave two readings in the Hall of 
Barnard’s Inn, which were well attended. I heard from both 
Arthur Symons and John Laneabout the lecture. Lane wrote: 
‘ Verlaine was a great success last night. He, so I learn, leaves 
Paddington to-morrow morn: for you. He called at the 
Bodley Head this afternoon — but I was out. Meredith sent 
a message to me that he would like to have Verlaine down 
to his place for a day, and this morn: he wired in reply to 
me that he would be delighted to have him on Sunday night 
if I would take him down, but Verlaine is not feeling very 
well and he is not sure how long he will remain. Perhaps 
you will consult York Powell about it, and anyhow I am 
free to take him down on Sunday. Will you write to me and 
let me know the joint wishes of Verlaine, Powell and yourself 
on the subject. Let me know on Friday per letter or wire so 
that I may let Meredith know finally.’ 

What prevented the visit to Meredith I don’t remember. 
From Symons I had an equally reassuring letter: 

My dear Rothenstein, 

I hope you duly received my telegram, and Verlaine after 
it. Please write and tell me how things have gone, and if the 
lecture was a success; also if Verlaine goes on to Manchester 
or not. And I want you to remember to get from him, before 
he goes, my copies of ‘Sagesse’ and ‘Amour’ that he bor- 
rowed from me, and please remind him to write his name in 
them, as he said he would. As you see, I am already far 
away, within sight and sound of the loveliest sea in the 
world, and in my native county, which I have not visited for 
years and years. 

Verlaine in 


Powell’s anxiety I bought the P. M. B. on my way down. Your portrait is 
excellent, one of the very best I have seen. 

Verlaine’s visit, to me, has been most delightful, and I 
think we ought all to congratulate ourselves on ourselves for 
having brought him over, and on our luck in getting him. 
I hope he will get a decent amount of money in Oxford: the 
London sum will be, I think, about £$o. 

Yours very sincerely, 


Symons put Verlaine into the train at Paddington. I met 
him at Oxford station. A strange figure he looked on the 
platform, as he limped along in a long great-coat, a scarf 
round his neck, his foot in a cloth shoe. I took him at once 
to Christ Church, where Powell had a room for him. 

Verlaine gave his lecture in a room at the back of Black- 
well’s shop, and read a number of his own poems. As a con- 
ference it was a poor affair; he spoke indistinctly in a low, 
toneless voice; he had brought nothing with him, and he 
knew but few of his poems by heart; fortunately, York 
Powell and I between us provided the books, from which he 
read. There was only a sprinkling of persons present; prob- 
ably few people in Oxford knew much about the poet or his 
poetry; but Verlaine was tickled with the idea of having 
lectured before what he believed was an audience of doctors 
and scholars of the Ancient University of Oxford. 

Verlaine was delighted with Oxford — with the beauty of 
the Colleges, with the peace of the quads and gardens. He 
showed no sign of wanting to leave ; he was gay and talkative, 
and wished to be taken everywhere; but York Powell, ad- 
mirer of Verlaine though he was, was in terror lest the poet 
should get drunk while staying at Christ Church. What 
would the Dean, what would Dodgson, say? So far, nothing 
untoward had happened; but after two or three days, Powell 
suggested that I should give poor Verlaine a hint that guest- 
rooms were only to be occupied for a short period at a time. 
This was not easy, for Verlaine, in spite of a certain childish- 


ness, 'was yet shrewd enough, and surmised that York Powell A fortune 
was nervous; but he by no means wished to leave Oxford, soon spent 
He needed a good deal of gentle persuasion before he was 
put into the train again for London. 

Before returning to Paris he lectured at Salford. Mean- 
while I had a letter from Eug&nie Krantz, warning me of the 
machinations of ‘another person 5 , and begging me, if I heard 
from Euphemia, not to let her know anything of the poet’s 
movements. I gathered that, on his return, there were dread- 
ful complications between the three of them. Whatever hap- 
pened, it was evident that the money he took back with him 
quickly disappeared. He had returned with £80 in his pocket, 
a fortune for poor Verlaine in those days. 

This year at Oxford was one of the happiest of my life. 

After the hectic life of Paris, the sense of order, of a settled 
social system, was good for my undisciplined spirit. I en- 
joyed, too, the constant sight of splendid youth thronging 
the streets, going down to the river, or to the playing fields, 
in flannels and shorts, or strolling, two by two, in and out of 
the sheltered quads and gardens. In buildings and gardens — 
in gardens most of all — the evidence of man’s careful and 
loving husbandry lingers, when so much else of the past has 
been destroyed. Lawns and flower-beds are rather art for 
art’s sake, while the fruit garden, with its beautiful and ancient 
lore of grafting and pleaching, its espaliered trees, its long 
ruddy walls, built to trap the sun, its formal rows of bushes, 
prove that use is no bar to beauty. Knowing little of the 
great English country-houses, the buildings and gardens at 
Oxford gave me a new sense of what harmonious beauty lies 
for ever latent in the nature of man. 

A favourite spot was the Botanical Gardens, just below 
Magdalen Bridge. Then there was the Thames itself, with 
beautiful places within reach — Godstow, Abingdon and 
Dorchester. And what could be lovelier than the Cher? So 
long as I live, the memory of its overhanging trees, sparkling 
by day, grand and solemn by night, will remain with me. 

The quiet, graceful and efficient figures handling the punting 


A joke on Max poles, the pleasant voices, the sound of the water, of boats 
scraping as they touched the banks — a stream of youth indeed, 
whose beauty is beyond compare. 

I said that Max took no exercise; I did him an injustice; he 
shared a canoe with a Merton friend, L. M. Messell, and did 
sometimes strike the water of the Cher with his paddle. Per- 
haps it was merely a gesture; at least it was made in the Cher. 
Further afield I never knew him to go. He boasted once that 
he had never worn cap nor gown ; I swore I would see him 
in both before he left Oxford; for he spoke of going down 
without taking his degree. I managed to get hold of a 
Proctor's notice, had it copied by a London printer, and sent 
out the copies to Max and a dozen others; they were to 
present themselves before the Proctor at Balliol College, at 
9 o’clock on a certain morning. I took care to be at Balliol 
betimes, and saw them all arrive in trouble and uncertainty 
and, Max among them, in cap and gown. Then I watched 
them disappear up the Proctor’s staircase. At Christ Church 
in the evening I found the other Proctor furious over the 
hoax. I told York Powell about it privately; he was fearful 
lest my crime be found out, staying as I was with him at the 
House. He tried to be solemn about it, but I think he was 
secretly amused. But not a word must I breathe to anyone 
about the unpardonably wicked thing I had done. 

Mrs Woods and her husband, the President of Trinity, 
took as much trouble as York Powell did to bring me into 
touch with possible sitters. The Lodge at Trinity, built by 
Thomas Jackson, had little of a scholastic atmosphere; under 
Mrs Woods’ care, who loved flowers and arranged them 
beautifully, its rooms had a radiance all their own; and Mrs 
Woods’ many gifts brought her a wide circle of friends. 
While staying at Trinity Lodge I first met Robert Bridges 
and his wife, whose friendship I was fortunate enough to 
win. Dr Gore, and Henry Daniel, die Viking-like Head of 
W orcester College. Mrs Daniel, too, lent charm to her beauti- 
ful house, bright and gay with old English needlework. 
Henry Daniel, besides being Provost of Worcester, had a 


private printing-press, one of the earliest then in use. During Praise from 
my Oxford year Walter Pater’s Child in the House was being Whistler 
printed, I think for some charitable object. Was it in this 
connection too that a memorable performance of Alice in 
Wonderland was given in the gardens of Worcester, in which 
Rosina Philippi and Nigel Playfair appeared? Also the two 
flaxen-haired Daniel children, Ruth and Rachel? A charming 
sight it was, this play in Worcester Gardens. 

My lithograph portraits appeared in monthly parts. They 
had, I gathered, but a limited circulation at Oxford; but to 
my delight Whistler subscribed for the publication. He 
wrote from Paris that ‘your own drawings of the Dons and 
Captains we are immensely pleased with. They are better 
and better. Bravo ! ’ In answer to a letter I had written to 
him, he asked: ‘why this untimely confession, my dear 
Parson?’ He had no doubt that I had been giving him away 
and that everything was as bad as could be, but that no one 
knew anything about it. He was glad to find, however, 
that there was something of the redoubtable boulevardier 
left in the new undergraduate. I must come back and ‘ break- 
fast in the only garden bijou in Paris ’. I was glad of Whistler’s 
encouragement, but Conder didn’t care for the Oxford 
drawings; I scarcely expected him to: and he thought I was 
making a mistake in leaving Paris. He wrote to me from the 
rue de Navarin: 

4 Thank you very much for the ‘ Oxford Characters’. I am 
very pleased to have it and wish you every success in the 
affair. As you may suppose I don’t like the drawings as 
much as those you showed me in your studio. Paris has been 
as gay as usual and it has been the usual bother to get to bed 
before the small hours. I cannot say I respect as much as 
I would like this bad habit of keeping late hours, and which 
as I get older only seems to increase — it looses expression a 
good deal from habit and perhaps one is better away from 
the alluring odour of the cocotte and her doubtful presents. 

* However from the fact that the object itself loses flavour, 
we ourselves lasse and find it less dangerous. 


And advice ‘ I have seen very few of your friends lately and done hardly 

from Conder any visits — when the time comes round for them one feels 
tired, and it’s almost as good fun to watch the trees outside 
my studio. You will perhaps remember how we saw them 
last year and I can assure you that this autumn has been almost 
finer in my garden. I say mine, for it is almost and I regret 
nothing so much as leaving my studio on account of it. I hope 
all the same you find as much pleasure in Oxford as I do in 
Paris, and I am sure that it is not on account of one’s friends 
that the place is so very charming for one to live in. 

‘I would like to see Oxford some day very much, and have 
already heard so much of its old courts and gracious trees. 
I think I might perhaps be able to render you service just 
now if you cared to send me some sketches, for one or two 
might be well placed with a picture merchant that I know 
here and is likely to sell some of my own. 

‘ Ne vous emballei pas trop pour V Angleterre. You would 
have done as well here and have had more help and sym- 
pathy. I can’t understand the English enough for them to 
understand me — can you? I am to sell a picture to the State, 
I hear from a man that called yesterday and was on the last 
delegation. He says I only lost by two votes; think what it 
would be to get one’s living by painting in one’s own way. 
I only ask for one thing, to be independent of all these 
worries that make us so dependent on others. I think things 
will be better for us in a few years and you will do well to 
keep yourself in people’s memory here in Paris. I look back 
at England with hardly any pleasure. 

‘When you have time your letters will always give me 
pleasure. Ask Lane to give me a book cover to do and you 
will be a very good boy.’ 

But Lane evidently did not ask Conder for a book cover, 
since a few weeks later he writes again: 

My dear William 

Thanks very much for the Oxford Characters. I liked it 
very much and after such a dedication would be too afraid 


to give offence in chiding as I did the first. I believe anyhow 
that you will do even better when the stone gets warmer — 
I was delighted with the Xmas card and wish you the same. 
No particular news. Frazier has brought some good things 
from the South — quite a la Manet. Howard Cushing and 
divers other people enquired after you — the bronzed Rinky 
also — 

Your brother has bought a fan ; I hope you will see it. 
I fancy it’s one of the best. I hope you will try and be good 
and unselfish this new year and wont get into too many 
scrapes and don’t forget Lane about the picture book cover 
for me. 

With love — 


I always enjoyed Conder’s letters. They were vague and 
suggestive like ids talk — like his painting, too. I wondered 
what people in Oxford would have thought of him. 

I wanted to include a portrait of Pater in the Oxford set, 
but he was morbidly self-conscious about his appearance. 
He had been drawn as a youth by Simeon Solomon, and was 
reluctant, later in life, to be shown as he was. Still, he seemed 
interested in the drawings I was doing and, hesitatingly, 
suggested I should try Bussell first. Bussell sat and Pater 
approved of the result Perhaps Bussell added his persuasion 
to mine; at any rate he said that Pater was no longer averse 
to sitting. A drawing was duly made, and sent away to be 
put down on the stone. When die proofs came I showed one 
to Pater. He said litde, but was obviously displeased; ac- 
cording to Bussell he was more than displeased, he was upset. 
He had taken the print into Bussell’s room, laying it on the 
table without comment. They then went together for their 
usual walk; but not a word was spoken. On their return, as 
Pater left Bussell at his door, he broke silence. ‘Bussell, do 
I look like a Barbary ape?’ Then came a tactful letter from 

Bussell and 


Pater’s last lines 


March nth. 

My dear Rothenstein, 

I thought your drawing of me a clever likeness, but I doubt 
very much whether my sister, whom I have told about it, will 
like it; in which case I should rather not have it published. 
I therefore write at once to save you needless trouble about it. 
Put off the reproduction of the drawing till you come to 
Oxford again, and then let her see it. I thought your likeness 
of Bussell most excellent, and shall value it. It presents just 
the look I have so often seen in him, and have not seen in his 
photographs. I should have liked to be coupled with him, 
and am very sorry not to be. I think, however, you ought 
to publish him at once, with some other companion; and 
I will send you four or five lines for him soon. 

With sincere thanks for the trouble you have taken about 

me, I remain, Tr , 

Very truly yours, 


Pater duly sent me the note on Bussell — the last words, 
I believe, he was destined to write for publication. Some 
time afterwards I heard from Tom Way, the printer: ‘We 
have just had a visit from Mr Lane before your note came. 
He came expressly to say that no more proofs were to be 
pulled from the Pater. I understand Pater has used great 
stress as to what he will do if it is published. It is very small 
for these people to go on so, I think.’ 

I usually found that each of my sitters thought twenty- 
three of the twenty-four drawings excellent likenesses; the 
twenty-fourth was his own. Had I paid too much attention 
to my sitters’ feelings, few of my portraits would ever have 
seen the light. Any record sincerely made from life has a 
certain value; this fact, I felt, was my justification. 

But imperfect as my portraits were, I know my case was 
a common one. Wasn’t it Sargent who said that a portrait 
is a painting in which there is something wrong with the 
mouth? Even the great Sir Joshua Reynolds had a large 


number of rejected portraits on his hands — 300, 1 read some- 
where. I remember Neville Lytton telling me, when I was 
speaking with particular admiration of Watts’ beautiful por- 
trait of his mother, that though they had a chance of acquiring 
it at the time it was painted, it was rejected by his mother’s 
family; and many years later, when Lady Lytton was an old 
lady, she paid a visit to Litde Holland House, and seeing the 
portrait again was moved to tears at the thought that she 
had once been so beautiful as she appeared in the painting. 
But Watts would not now let the portrait leave his studio. 

Alas! before the Oxford book was finished, Pater died; 
and when my portrait was finally included in the volume his 
friends were glad, as so few records of Pater existed. Besides 
the early drawing by Simeon Solomon, there was only a not 
very satisfactory photograph. 

Lionel Johnson, whom Elkin Mathews had asked me to 
draw for a forthcoming book of his verses, wrote me a 
charming note, in which he refers to the overcoming of Miss 
Pater’s prejudice against the portrait: 

20 Fit^roy Street , 

My dear Rothenstein, ® ct ' 2 4> *894 

Too great an honour ! or shall I say, premature? I should 

be charmed to sit to you at any time, when you want an 

excellent model for nothing : but a portrait in my book would 

be too great a vanity, even for me. Wait till the Laureateship 

is mine, or — don’t be insulted — the P.R.A. is yours. I am 

explaining to Mathews, that the very portrait itself would 

blush: which is undesirable for a lithograph by you. Only 

Academicians’ portraits ought to blush. Seriously, in a first 

volume of verse, it would be a little absurd: gready as I 

should appreciate the honour of immortality from your 

hands. You must give it me later. 

Delighted to hear that the Pater lithograph is to appear. 

I am just back from Oxford, where I have been going through 

all Pater’s MSS. -v 

Yours ever, 


from history 


Back to Paris When the summer term ended I went over to spend some 
weeks in Paris. William Heinemann, who was preparing an 
English edition of the de Goncourts’ Journal . , was also going 
to Paris, and he proposed I should make a portrait of Edmond 
de Goncourt to be reproduced in the book. I jumped at the 
chance, not only of drawing him, but, as I hoped, of seeing 
his treasures. 

De Goncourt made no difficulties about sitting, and I lost 
no time in paying my respects to the great man, who, through 
his, and his brother’s, influence on the modem novel had be- 
come almost an historical figure, and who with his brother 
had done so much to draw attention to the importance of the 
eighteenth-century painters in France. I had read more than 
one volume of the famous Journal , and knew something of 
the house at Neuilly. Ushered in and shown up a staircase 
hung with fascinating-looking prints and drawings, I at once 
received a suggestion of good things to come. I was shown 
into Edmond’s study, lined with books, where was the white- 
haired veteran I had long admired from afar — a big, powerful 
head, wax-like in its pallor, with two great velvety eyes 
looking out. His clothes were of an old-fashioned French 
cut; he wore a handkerchief carefully knotted about his neck, 
as in the Bracquemond portrait. Studiedly reticent at first, 
before I left he had become much more genial. He 
appeared surprised at my youth. When I returned to the 
house for a first sitting, he was much interested at my 
drawing directly on to the stone. I was the first person he 
had seen to work in this way since Gavarni died. He talked 
much of Gavarni, with whom he and his brother Jules had 
been long and intimately associated. When later I mentioned 
Daumier, he became bitter at once. ‘Ah, fashion,’ he said, 
‘how stupid she is. Gavarni had a hundred times Da umier ’s 
talent,’ and then, in the same breath, he assailed Villiers de 
1’IsIe-Adam and Barbey d’Aurevilly; ‘Oui, c’est la mode 
aujourd’hui d’admirer tous les morts qui, vivants, n’avaient 
pas le sou.’ When he came to look at my drawing, he did 
not approve of the hair; to show me how he would like it, 


he went to the glass, and with his old trembling fingers 
carefully untidied it. 

That Whistler was a great artist he was unwilling to hear. 
‘Il m’ennuie, c’est un farceur.’ With Degas he was annoyed, 
because Degas had told him that modern writers got their 
inspiration from painters. He had replied that in Manette 
Salaman, before Degas had begun to paint in his present 
manner, he and his brother had written that ballet girls and 
laundresses were subjects made to an artist’s hand. ‘Degas 
is too clever,’ he said, ‘and is sometimes scored off. For 
instance the other day, at Alphonse Daudet’s, he remarked 
that our writing was twaddle, that the only man of real talent 
among us was le pere Dumas. To which Daudet: “ Yes, my 
dear Degas, and the only modern artist of genius was Horace 

I made two lithographs of Edmond de Goncourt during 
the short time I stayed in Paris. He liked talking about 
painting and drawing, and showing his treasures. He had 
marvellous eighteenth-century drawings and Japanese prints; 
many of these last were pretentiously framed. I wondered at 
his valuing his drawings by Boucher as highly as his Watteaus, 
of which he had some admirable examples. But what books 
and manuscripts he possessed ! He showed me the original 
account books of the Pompadour, giving the prices she paid, 
among other things, for furniture and bibelots. I was as- 
tonished how costly these were, when new. What admirable 
faith these people had in their own contemporaries! De 
Goncourt too had not altogether lost this faith. He knew 
little of any but French culture; like Degas he was intensely 
conservative and nationalist. But his taste was very un- 
certain; round a room at the top of his house he had glass- 
topped tables where he kept presentation copies of books from 
his friends bound in vellum, with their authors’ portraits 
painted on the covers; Zola by Raffaelli, Montesquiou by 
Gandara, Rodenbach by Alfred Stevens, Daudet, and another 
by Carriere, a charming one and the only drawing which 
appeared to me suited to a book cover, by Forain, and many 


De Goncourt 1 s 

Offending a others in more dubious taste and badly painted. How strange 
princess that the sensitive biographer of Outamaro, of the Pompa- 
dour and Les Femmes au i8me Siecle should indulge in such 
doubtful fancies ! He said, when I last saw him, that he was 
undecided about his next Japanese monograph — whether it 
should be on Horonobu or on the better-known Hokusai. 
He was anxious I should draw Mme Daudet, as well as 
Saint-Victor, Zola and Daudet; also the Princesse Mathilde. 
I wrote to the Princess, who didn’t reply, perhaps because 
I began my letter ‘ Chere Madame I had little experience of 
writing to Royal Princesses. De Goncourt seemed very 
devoted to Alphonse Daudet, and to his wife. He said 
I must draw them both; he would write and tell them so. 
He also gave me a letter to Zola. 

Daudet received me cordially. Of course he would sit 
since his dear friend Edmond de Goncourt wished it. He 
was exciting to draw; very pale, almost glistening white, 
with long black hair and beard just beginning to turn grey. 
He looked terribly ill. His hands were white and bloodless. 
Very sensitive hands they were, closed on a black ebony 
stick, his support when walking. I had read Daudet’s Tar- 
tarin at school; it was almost a classic, as well known to boys 
as Mark Twain’s Tramp Abroad. Other books I read later; 
but Daudet was now less in favour among the elite. I think 
he knew this, for he complained loudly of the newer writers, 
much as the older men do to-day. ‘Ah, vous autres jeunes 
gens d’aujourd’hui, you came into the world with all your 
teeth fully grown — you are so bitter, so unkind. Men of my 
generation sympathise with old and young. I try to find 
good in all.’ He was anxious to get Whistler to paint his 
daughter. When my drawing was done, he was so flattering 
about it, he made me uneasy. ‘ How old was I? Wonderful; 
what a future before me ! I must show it to Mme Daudet; 
n’est-ce pas que c’est moi crache?’ Mme Daudet was flat- 
tering too, but with a shade of ennui. She must have tired 
at times of Daudet’s meridional superlatives. True he had 
great charm; but there was something in him tha t didn’t ring 


true, that was slightly embarrassing; perhaps one felt he was 
too well aware of his fascination. 

For Edmond de Goncourt he expressed unbounded ad- 
miration. He asked much about Meredith’s position in 
England. Lord Dufferin, he said, often came to him in the 
evenings to read to him. He had just translated, viva voce, 
Modern Love. I asked him if he found it difficult to follow; 
he said, no, he understood everything perfectly. As Lord 
Dufferin was not reputed a perfect French scholar, and as 
Modem Love is difficult to read, even for English people, 
this was surprising. I had just been reading Un Caractere, by 
Leon Hennique. Daudet was delighted to hear his friend 
Hennique praised; he agreed that he was an exquisite writer. 
Speaking of Verlaine, he told me that Verlaine had once 
tried to stab him at dinner just after the publication of one 
of his books. 

I met their son, Leon, several times at the Daudets. I 
thought him very clever, but too cocksure. He told his 
father that he had made up his mind, that his opinions were 
finally settled, on every aspect of life. He had inherited the 
meridional temperament of his father, with his tendency to 
exaggerated praise and blame. His mentality was clearer 
cut, but he lacked his father’s charm and grace. His wife, 
Jeanne, a granddaughter of Victor Hugo, was a handsome 
blonde, rather like Saskia. I went to lunch with them at their 
luxurious flat, where they lived in more state than the older 
Daudets. He gave me two of his books, which I have not 
re-read; but lately I came across a book of his reminiscences, 
dealing with this particular time, which was brilliant I thought; 
his prose portraits are sharp and convincing. The book re- 
called very clearly this period of my life in Paris. 

The last time I saw Daudet was at one of de Goncourt’s 
evenings. Mark Twain was expected. No one knew any- 
thing about Mark Twain; strange! they talked of him as 
though he were a sort of Edgar Allan Poe. I told them as 
best I could what his books were like. Meanwhile people 
stood about listening to de Goncourt and Daudet. While 


The Daudets — 
Alphonse and 



‘Moll Flanders’ they were discussing Mark Twain, the names of George 
rediscovered Moore and Oscar Wilde were mentioned, coupled, for some 
unknown reason, together. Oscar Wilde they took more 
seriously as a writer than I expected. I was amused that 
Edmond, with his indiscreet Journal, should complain of 
George Moore that he dined at their tables and took notes on 
his cuff. Finally, Mark Twain didn’t arrive. 

I was rather embarrassed one day when de Goncourt told 
me he had lately made a great discovery: the life of a cour- 
tesan written by an obscure English author in the seventeenth 
century — a wonderful book, the precursor of the modem 
realist novel. He then began to describe Moll Flanders. I did 
not like to tell him that this was a kind of classic in England, 
well known to everyone who knew Defoe’s work. 

The ignorance of French writers and painters of all but 
their own art and literature, used to surprise me. De Gon- 
court had heard vaguely of Swinburne and Rossetti, and I 
told him about the beauty of Rossetti’s early work, and of 
Swinburne’s poetry. That Edmond de Goncourt would 
write down any scraps of my chatter, I had never imagined. 
He asked me many questions about England — about the 
Pre-Raphaelites especially. I suppose I told him the little 
I knew, and mostly through Whistler’s stories; what young 
man wouldn’t do his best to be informing with an old man 
of de Goncourt’s eminence? Whistler had given me very 
funny accounts of the Rossetti household at Cheyne Walk, 
and I must have been indiscreet enough to repeat them. Two 
years later, when the last volume of the Journal appeared, 

I received a rude shock. 

De Goncourt gave me a letter to Zola, whose portrait was 
to appear in the English edition of the de Goncomvd Journal. 

I was rather taken aback by Zola’s house in the rue de Rome. 

I had scarcely expected to find the author of F(Euvre and 
L’ Assommoir in such luxurious surroundings. His study was 
filled with expensive-looking antiques, rich carpets and 
hangings, bronzes and caskets— no armour I thinly but it 
was the kind of room in which one expected to find suits of 



linn*,., f 




armour. On the wall hung his portrait by Manet, in Manet’s Zola 
early dark manner. Zola’s personality did not impress me; 
he was not at all amiable, in fact rather sulky. I suspected 
that there was little love lost between him and Daudet and 
de Goncourt. Perhaps it was because I had come from 
Edmond de Goncourt that Zola was not very cordial. Lately 
I read that in the famous Journal , which was to have been 
published 30 years after Edmond’s death, the references to 
Zola are so libellous that even now it cannot be published. 

I felt at the time that there was something ungenerous about 
de Goncourt and Daudet — that they were both rather 
jealous, perhaps, of the phenomenal success of Zola’s work, 
not only in France, but throughout Europe. 

Zola wore a kind of monk’s habit; he was writing his book 
on Lourdes, and getting himself into the right frame of mind ; 
though not knowing this at the time, such a costume on Zola 
was rather startling. He was not in a mood for talking. I had 
my drawing to make, and as this was the only occasion on 
which I met him, my impression of his character was of course 

I had not forgotten Verlaine. Verlaine’s room looked more 
forlorn still after Zola’s palatial hotel ; and he was, as usual, 
dans la deche. ‘ Mon cher ami, ’ he wrote, * Je compte sur vous 
pour mercredi. . .voudrez-vous et pouvez-vous contribuer un 
peu aux frais de nos frugales orgies pour ce dejeuner-la, et 
m’apporter le Figaro avec son supplement. Quand meme, 
venez surtout, n’est-ce pas?...’ 

Verlaine was not well enough to come out to meals, so of 
course, since he often asked me to join him and Eugenie at 
lunch or dinner, I usually procured some addition to their 
larder from the restaurant below. But Verlaine must indeed 
have been poor to have asked for the Figaro ; and lately he 
had been in hospital again, this time at the Hopital St Louis, 
where he had had to pay for his keep. ‘Mon cher ami,’ he 
had written me, ‘Que devenez-vous? Moi toujours id. 

Mieux, mais lent a redresser, ce pied qui n’en veut pas finirl 
et 6 francs par jour ! etc. etc. aussi serais-je bien reconnaissant 

163 u-a 

Letters from a vous si pourriez aupres du Fortnightly activer l’avance ou le 
Verlaine solde qui me ferait tant de bien. N’est-ce pas, veuillez vous en 
occuper vite. Symons est a Paris. Il est venu me voir 2 fois 
deja, dans mon ermitage, oh je suis trls bien d’ailleurs : tout 
seul dans ma chambre. Droit de fumer et de recevoir tous 
les jours. Bonne nourriture. Mais ce n’est pas la liberte. 
Quand viendrait-elle, enfin serieuse, pour moi? Definitive? 
Vu hier Mallarme (qui attend des nouvelles d’York Powell). 
Moi aussi et du livre — et de Lane.’ 1 

Then again complaints about the Fortnightly : ‘J’ai tant 
besoin de cette galette ! Il y a aussi des vers dans 1 * Athenaeum 
dont j’attends de vagues argents. Pour ce, voir Gosse, a qui 
j’ai ecrit sans avoir de reponse.’ 

‘J’ai tant besoin de cette galette’ — not he alone, for his 
needs were few; but Eugenie was greedy, and there was 
someone else, too. For, soon after, I heard from him again: 
‘J’ai une rechute de mon mal, que je soigne serieusement et 
qui m’a rendu incapable de beaucoup ecrire. Je n’ai pu, en 
raison de cette rechute, me rendre en Belgique et moins 
encore en Suisse. J’ai demenage et mime divorce. Ecrivez 
moi rue St Jacques 187 et veuillez m’envoyer a ou 3 exem- 
plaires du Pall Mall Budget, oh est mon portrait par vous. 
Surtout n envoy rien rue Broca.’ 

The last sentence is significant. When I saw him again he 
said he had got rid of * cette harlot ’. But soon after the Krantz 
was sharing his new room in the rue St Jacques; and Verlaine 
wrote: ‘Notre menage est dans la joie. Nous allons avoir des 
petits — canaris! et nous nous sommes enrichis d’un aquarium 
avec deux cyprins dedans.’ 

Before I left Paris I heard from Beerbohm: 

2 Chandos Square , 

My dear Will, Broadstairs 

I made my entry into Broadstairs quite quietly last Sunday. 

1 John Lane was to publish a selection of Verlaine’s poetry, with 
an introduction by York Powell, and a portrait, but the book never 


I find it a most extraordinary place — a few yards in circum- Max by the C. 
ference and with a population of several hundred thousands. 

In front of our house there is a huge stretch of greenish, 
stagnant water which makes everything damp and must, I am 
sure, be very bad for those who live near to it. Everyone 
refers to it with mysterious brevity as the C. I am rather 
afraid of the C. And oh, the population! You, dear Will, 
with your love of Beauty that is second only to your love of 
vulgarity would revel in the female part of it. Such lots of 
pretty, common girls walking up and down — all brown with 
the sun and dressed like sailors — casting vulgar glances from 
heavenly eyes and bubbling out Cockney jargon from per- 
fect lips. You would revel in them but I confess they do not 
attract me: apart from the fact that I have an ideal, I don’t 
think the lower orders ought to be attractive — it brings 
Beauty into disrepute. Never have I seen such a shady 
looking set of men in any place at any season: most of them 
look like thieves and the rest like receivers of stolen goods, 
and altogether I do not think Broadstairs is a nice place — 

Are you in Paris? How charming — I am sending this to 
your publishers who know, probably, your address. By the 
way, did you remember when you saw that poor fly in the 
amber of modernity, John Lane, to speak of my caricatures? 

Do write to me and tell me of anything that you are doing 
or of anyone you have seen. . . . 

Photography — what a safeguard it is against infidelity. 

If Ulysses had had a photograph of Penelope by Elliot and 
Fry in his portmanteau, the cave of Calypso might have lost 
an habitue 

Yours ever, 


Have you entered any Studio yet? I would recommend 
you to draw from the life: nothing like it. 



Return to 


O N my return from Paris I set about looking for a studio, 
staying at Morley’s Hotel in Trafalgar Square. Morley’s 
Hotel, an old-fashioned family hotel on the site of which the 
offices of the Dominion of South Africa now stand, is as- 
sociated in my memory with a visit from Max Beerbohm, 
when he tried on my frock-coat, a style of garment to which 
he was strange. It amuses me to think of Max the exquisite 
examining himself in the glass, clothed in a garment of mine. 

While I was looking for rooms, Jacomb-Hood, who was 
going abroad, offered me the use of his house in Tite Street, 
a comfortable house with a good studio, of which Godwin 
was the architect, as he was of many of the houses in Tite 
Street, among them Whistler’s White House. Another house 
in Tite Street was occupied by Oscar and Mrs Wilde. These 
houses were very characteristic of the ’eighties, the period 
of Walter Crane and of Libertys. Whisder was contemptuous 
of Oscar Wilde living in one of a row of houses. In Paris 
Whistler had described this row, drawing it to show the 
monotonous repetition of each house, only differentiated 
by its number, and putting a large 16 on Oscar’s house. 
I noticed then how childishly Whisder drew when drawing 
out of his head. 

I was glad of a studio, having just received a first com- 
mission for a painting, through Claud Schuster, whose friend, 
Basil Williams, wanted a portrait of his sister. In Tite Street 
I also painted a group of friends— Wilson Steer, Charles 


Furse, Walter Sickert, D. S. MacColl and Max Beerbohm. Settling in 
I wish I had carried out more groups of the kind ; but it is Chelsea 
difficult to get busy men to sit. A few years later I began 
another canvas of Sargent, Steer and T onks, which was never 

Whistler had said ‘of course you will settle in Chelsea’. 

The men who counted most for me lived there — Sickert, 

Steer, Ricketts and Shannon. The name itself, soft and creamy, 
suggested the eighteenth century, Whistler’s early etchings, 

Cremome, old courts and rag-shops. I was at first dis- 
appointed with the long King’s Road, a shabbier Oxford 
Street, with its straggling, dirty, stucco mid-century houses 
and shops. But the river-side along Cheyne Row was 
beautiful; what noble houses ! and there were Lindsay Row 
and Cheyne Row and Paradise Walk, and the Physic Gardens 
and the Vale. 

The Vale was then really a vale, with wild gardens and 
houses hidden among trees. Oscar Wilde had taken me to 
the Vale to see Ricketts and Shannon before I came to live 
in Chelsea, when I was charmed by these men, and by their 
simple dwelling, with its primrose walls, apple-green skirting 
and shelves, the rooms hung with Shannon’s lithographs, a 
fan-shaped water-colour by Whistler, and drawings by 
Hokusai — their first treasures, to be followed by so many 
others. Walter Sickert too lived in the Vale, in a house be- 
longing to William de Morgan, with a studio full of Mrs de 
Morgan’s paintings. For this reason perhaps Sickert pre- 
ferred painting elsewhere. He had a small room where he 
worked, at the end — the shabby end — of the Chelsea Em- 
bankment, west of Beaufort Street. Needless to say, this 
room was in one of the few ugly houses to be found along 
Cheyne Walk. His taste for the dingy lodging-house atmo- 
sphere was as new to me as was Ricketts’ and Shannon’s 
Florentine aura. I had known many poor studios in Paris, 
but Walter Sickert’s genius for discovering the dreariest 
house and most forbidding rooms in which to work was a 
source of wonder and amusement to me. He himself was so 


Walter Sickert fastidious in his person, in his manners, in the choice of his 
clothes; was he affecting a kind of dandyism a rebours ? For 
Sickert was a finished man of the world. He was a famous 
wit; he spoke perfect French and German, very good Italian, 
and was deeply read in the literature of each. He knew his 
classical authors, and could himself use a pen in a masterly 
manner. As a talker he could hold his own with either 
Whistler or Wilde. Further, he seemed to he on easy and 
familiar terms with the chief social, intellectual and political 
figures of the time ; yet he preferred the exhausted air of the 
music-hall, the sanded floor of the public-house, and the ways 
and talk of cockney girls who sat to him, to the comfort of 
the clubs, or the sparkling conversation (for so I imagined it) 
of the drawing rooms of Mayfair and Park Lane. An aristo- 
crat by nature, he had cultivated a strange taste for life below 
stairs. High lights below Steers, I used to say, in reference 
to this predilection, and to his habit of painting in low tones. 
Every man to his taste, I thought; but had I a tittle of your 
charm, your finished manners, your wit and good looks, 
I should not be painting in a dusty room in the squalidest 
corner of Chelsea. Nor, for that matter, should I be labor- 
iously matching the dingy tones of women lying on un- 
washed sheets, upon cast-iron bedsteads. And there were 
other things in Walter’s pictures that puzzled me. He himself 
told how Menpes, looking at one of his canvases, praising it 
to the skies — ‘lovely colour, my dear Walter, beautiful tone, 
exquisite drawing, but — could you — not that it isn’t perfect 
as it is — could you manage just to coax, — the one eye is 
capital — to coax that other eye into the face?’ And Walter 
would go off into a peal of laughter. What stories he told of 
Whistler, of the days before I knew him, when Sickert, 
Menpes, Roussell and the Greaves brothers formed an artistic 
bodyguard round ‘The Master’! Some of the master’s 
mannerisms Sickert had caught; yet he seemed to me, in his 
own way, to be as unique a personality, and as rare a wit, as 
Whistler himself. He 'was an enfant de la balle , for his father 
had been a distinguished painter, a member of the sound old 


Munich school, a painter of the rank of his friend Scholderer, A perilous 
and of Fantin-Latour. But Walter had for a time turned to bouquet 
the stage, and had played with Irving and Ellen Terry. 

A propos of Miss Terry, he told me how, when a youngster, 
on the occasion of a first night or some special performance, 
wishing to pay honour to the great actress, he had drawn on 
his slender resources to purchase a bouquet of roses, and 
wishing to make sure that at the appropriate moment this 
should reach her, he loaded the end of the bouquet with lead. 

The roses, thrown from the gallery, fell with a violent thud 
on the hollow stage, narrowly missing Irving, surprised and 
indignant at this outrage. A loud ha ! ha ! rang through the 
house. Whistler had observed the scene. If my memory does 
not play me false, this was the occasion which led to the close 
association between him and Sickert. 

How far Whistler was aware of Sickert’s or of Greaves’ 
genius is problematical; I am inclined to believe he did not 
wish to recognise it; at any rate, he made every use of their 
devotion; but he saw to it that the limelight should be 
focused on himself; he deemed a farthing dip good enough 
for his disciples. 

When Whistler came to London he still made use of 
Sickert’s studio. Indeed, one day, seeing a half-finished 
canvas on the easel, he began working on it, and getting in- 
terested, he finished the canvas, carried it off, and I believe, 
sold it as a work of his own. But a coolness was already 
beginning between them at this time, while Sickert was as- 
serting himself more and more as an independent painter. 

Besides, ‘ Jimmy ’ was not the only recipient of his admiration 
— Whistler shared this with Degas and with Fantin-Latour; 
but chiefly with Degas. 

Night after night Sickert would go to the Bedford or 
Sadler’s Wells, to watch the light effects on stage and boxes, 
on pit and gallery, making tiny studies on scraps of paper 
with enduring patience and with such fruitful results. Inci- 
dentally he memorised the songs, storing his mind with the 
pregnant nonsense of music-hall doggerel and tunes. I envied 


Meeting of two idols. He was then the art critic of The Spectator , writing 
decadents with courage and a gallant style, carrying fire and the sword 
into the Academic camp. T o Conder and Steer, his first loves, 
he had remained constantly faithful. From his judgments I 
have often differed, but his integrity and high chivalrous 
character I have ever admired. 

Sargent who, like Jacomb-Hood, was abroad, had lent his 
studio to Charles Furse, a few doors from Jacomb-Hood’s 
house. I had met Furse in Paris, where we had been to the 
Louvre together, and made friends. He proved a helpful and 
most hospitable neighbour ; he liked people to come in while 
he was painting, to discuss his work, and to make sugges- 
tions; and while he was painting his talk boiled over into 
politics, military tactics and literature. So his studio was 
usually full of generals, admirals, distinguished and admiring 
ladies, painters and poets; while he strode up and down, 
working away with huge brushes and boisterous energy. At 
his studio I first met Laurence Binyon — Furse flung at us, 
‘Binyon! Rothensteinl don’t you know one another? Two 
decadents 1’ It is amusing to think of the scholarly Binyon 
being classed as a decadent. For Furse, with his high spirits 
and genial faith in his artistic and social security, behaved like 
a kind of elder brother to us all, though he was but four 
years my senior, and was considerably younger than Sickert 
and Steer. Yet he had a generous respect for the gifts of 
others. He knew that, in spite of his larger range, he lacked 
the refinements of colour and line which came naturally to 
some of his friends. He was loud in his praise of Steer, and 
took a generous view of my work. He tried hard, when he 
was commissioned to decorate some spandrils for the Town 
Hall at Liverpool, to get me associated with the undertaking. 
Though the Academy was always ready to welcome him, he 
showed his smaller work at the New English Art Club, 
vmere it was invariably singled out for praise. In those far- 
off days The Times gave a few lines only to these exhibitions; 
the young were kept in their places, and very poor places 
they were. 


But Furse from the first was marked out for success. Had Character of 
he lived, he would have been President of the Royal Furse 
Academy. Even in those days symptoms of the disease which 
too early attacked and defeated him were already showing 
themselves. Yet who, knowing Furse, would have suspected 
that he had this grim and tenacious enemy to fight? — 
heavily built and square-shouldered, he looked so robust, 
in his knickerbockers and tweeds, with big biceps and full 
calves. There was a suggestion of Rembrandt in his massive 
head, with its small, humorous eyes; and he wore a short 
moustache and tuft under his lip. Pugnacious, argumenta- 
tive, ever trailing a coat, he was the joy of his friends, of 
whom no man had more. Like his friend Henley, he was 
impatient of weakness and affectation; perhaps, like Henley 
too, he sometimes mistook sensitive discernment for these. 

Sargent he admired above all living painters; indeed, he often 
declared him to be the greatest of all portrait painters of 
any age. 

But in those early Chelsea days I was especially attracted 
by Ricketts and Shannon — they were so different from any 
artists I had met hitherto. Everything about them was re- 
fined and austere. Ricketts, with his pale, delicate features, 
fair hair and pointed gold-red beard, looked like a Clouet 
drawing. Half French, he had the quick mind and the rapid 
speech of a southerner. He was a fascinating talker. His 
knowledge of pictures and galleries astonished me; he had 
been nowhere except to the Louvre, yet he seemed to know 
everything, to have been everywhere. And he knew the 
names of rare flowers, of shells and of precious stones. 

Shannon was as quiet and inarticulate as Ricketts was 
restless and eloquent. He had a ruddy boyish face, like a 
countryman’s, with blue eyes and fair lashes; he reminded 
me of the shepherd in Rossetti’s Found. Oscar Wilde said 
Ricketts was like an orchid, and Shannon like a marigold. 

Ricketts, in giving his opinions, always said ‘we*. The 
partnership seemed perfect; there was never a sign of differ- 
ence or discord; each set off the other, in looks as in mind. 


Company at They knew few people, and prided themselves on going 
the Vale nowhere: their few intimates came to see them, usually on 
Friday evenings. Oscar Wilde often came to the Vale; he 
was devoted to both, and at his best in their company; and 
but for Beardsley’s Salome , they alone illustrated his books. 
I wondered whether he knew how gross, how soiled by the 
world, he appeared, sitting in one of the white scrubbed 
kitchen chairs next to Ricketts and Shannon and Sturge 
Moore. And sometimes Sickert came over; he too at his best, 
irresistibly witty and captivating in his talk, and appreciative 
of both our hosts. Indeed, no better talk was to be heard 
than round their table. We all admired Shannon’s lithographs, 
which seemed to me the loveliest things being done at the 
time. Both he and Ricketts were then busy cutting wood- 
blocks for their edition of Daphnis and Chloe, working late 
into the night, and rising late in the day. Bending over their 
blocks they looked like figures from a missal. I had never 
come into touch with the Morris movement, and this crafts- 
man side was new to me. I was therefore the more impressed 
by their skill and patience. From them I heard countless 
stories of Rossetti, of Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt, Millais 
and Madox Brown; in fact, at the time, I thought they would 
carry on the Pre-Raphaelite tradition. But their admiration 
for the Pre-Raphaelites was tempered, on Shannon’s part by 
admiration for Watts and Puvis, on Ricketts’ part by his pre- 
dilection for Delacroix and Gustav Moreau — Moreau, of 
whom Degas remarked ‘celui qui peint des lions avec des 
chaines de montre’. I revered these two men, for their simple 
and austere ways, their fine taste and fine manne rs. They 
seemed to stand apart from other artists of the time; and I 
was proud of their friendship, so rarely given, and of the 
encouragement they gave to my work. 

Shannon was reserved and quiedy appreciative, while 
Ricketts had a passion for influencing others. There is no 
word to describe this fatal desire, this Ehtflusslust* I believe 
all consciously exerted influence to be a bad thing. Certain 
people, certain books and pictures, fertilise a man’s spirit; but 


this can only be at a given moment, when the mind is a point , Two kinds of 
prepared to receive the seed. At such a time, when we are influence 
putting out feelers in certain directions, the conviction we 
need may come from others. Such influence is natural and 
healthy; but that which is forced on us cannot be properly 
assimilated. Twice-cooked food is notoriously indigestible; 
equally so are twice-chewed ideas. Indeed, good examples 
imitated may be as fruitless as bad ones. The tendency to 
study works of art too enthusiastically, to reflect the appear- 
ance of mastery rather than to enter, like the spirit of the 
Chinese artist in the legend, the heart of nature herself* is 
perhaps a weakness of English painters. 

I felt that Conder, in his own dreamy way, did respond to 
the visual harmonies and the pulsating vitality of nature; 
while Ricketts and Shannon depended over much on con- 
scious artistry. Art does not generate art. Lilies and colum- 
bines and golden grain grow from the rough earth; indeed, 
so do weeds; but who fears to sow though charlock springs 
up in the sprouting corn? Nor may an artist neglect to keep 
the soil clean — the soil from which his seed draws its life, 
lest the weeds of mannerism spring up. These weeds, too, 
wear brave colours — scarlet, yellow and blue, and the critic 
will often prefer the weed to the priceless ear. 

But Ricketts was a strong believer in tradition. He held 
that painters should learn their art by copying; that, through 
copying, the old masters had acquired all their knowledge* 

The most faithful of his disciples was Sturge Moore, who in 
his poetry and in his wood-cuts strove for a conscious beauty 
of form and content. Sturge Moore was one of the contri- 
butors to The Dial , the lovely quarto which Ricketts and 
Shannon produced at their own expense and risk, a work 
which had a powerful influence on contemporary drawing, 
engraving and printing, both in England and abroad. Another 
disciple was John Gray, for whose Silver points Ricketts had 
designed one of his exquisite bindings. John Gray was then 
a fastidious young poet and something of a dandy. He also 
wrote plays with Andre Raffolovitch, a wealthy friend of 


More habitues Ricketts. Then Gray became a Roman Catholic, and he has 
of the Vale since devoted himself and his fine poetic and artistic gifts to 
the Church, making his home in Edinburgh. 

Reginald Savage, who had been a fellow-student with 
Ricketts and Shannon at Lambeth, was also a familiar at the 
Vale. Later came Roger Fry and Charles Holmes. Fry at 
this time was living with Robert Trevelyan in Beaufort 
Street. There was then little to indicate the road he took later. 
He was still very much as he was when he first came to Paris 
— shy, rather afraid of life, painting in the manner of the 
early English water-colour painters. He, too, sat at Ricketts’ 
feet, though he was never admitted to the inner circle of the 
faithful, to which Sturge Moore and the others belonged. 
Fry was an admirable writer, and was beginning to follow 
in MacColl’s footsteps as an art critic. He was then, and for 
many years afterwards, a staunch supporter of my work, 
both in private and in the press. 

Charles Holmes too did etchings and drawings in his spare 
time, much encouraged by Shannon and Ricketts; and he 
was a resourceful writer on art. But Ricketts’ masterful 
personality dominated all who came into contact with him. 
The more intellectual draughtsmen, including Beardsley and 
Laurence Housman, looked to him as their leader. He was 
in fact the artistic Warwick of the age. 

After spending some weeks in Jacomb-Hood’s house, I 
found a studio with a couple of rooms in Glebe Place. Glebe 
Place, a turning just off the King’s Road parallel with Oakley 
Street, was full of studios. Later Conder also rented a studio 
in Glebe Place — a studio belonging to Miss Isabel Ford. 
Miss Ford was a follower of Watts and Burne-Jones, and it 
was amusing to hear her views on Conder’s work and habits, 
and likewise Conder’s opinion of her. 

James Guthrie lived round the comer in a fascinating 
house built by Philip Webb, facing Cheyne Row. I liked 
Guthrie, the most gifted of the Glasgow artists, I thought; 
I used to say of the Glasgow school, so much admired in 
Munich and Dresden, that their reputation was ‘made in 


Germany’. Guthrie’s fine intellect and breeding showed in the 
quality of his paint; he was a pleasant neighbour and I missed 
him when he left to settle in Edinburgh, where he became the 
distinguished President of the Royal Scottish Academy. 

Derwent Wood also had a studio nearby. He too had 
studied under Legros at the Slade School, later acting as his 
assistant. One would not have suspected this from his work, 
though he was easily the most scholarly and accomplished of 
the academic sculptors. He was a brilliant linguist with a 
quick incisive mind, at times, perhaps, a little too quick, and 
inclined to be quarrelsome. He had a very fine head, putting 
one in mind of a contemporary of Rouget de Lisle; he was, 
I believe, partly French. Tweed lived close by, and so did 
Dermod O’Brien and Henry Tonks. My studio had pre- 
viously been occupied, for a short time, by Walter Sickert. 
An old settee I picked up, a bed and a few chairs, an enormous 
painting table with a glass top which I bought from Sickert 
for a pound, an easel or two, and my studio was furnished, 
except for the Daumier lithographs I hung, of which only 
Sickert and Steer took notice. I was at once given a com- 
mission by Lady Pearson (Weetman Pearson had lately been 
made a Baronet). She asked me to paint her daughter Trudie, 
and I rashly accepted. Trudie, with her fine auburn hair, blue 
eyes, and rose and cream complexion, was a fitter subject for 
Watts or Millais; it was mistaken kindness on Lady Pearson’s 
part to invite me to interpret this delicate English beauty. 
Of course I failed; and being young and vain, I wouldn’t 
admit my failure. I would go my own way, and so, for a 
time to my loss, endangered a precious friendship. 

One of my first sitters was Jan Toorop, the Dutch sym- 
bolist. He had a magnificent head. The son of a Dutch 
administrator and a Javanese princess, he had the physical 
glamour of a portrait by Titian or Tintoretto. I painted a 
one-sitting study — a small canvas later acquired by the Tate 
Gallery. In those days, indeed, I did each part of my painting 
in a single sitting; not because of any theory I had, but for 
the reason that I didn’t know how to repaint. I sometimes 

177 1* 




Dangers of regret that later the habit of repainting grew upon me. To 
repainting paint a head or any part of a figure at a sitting makes one 
concentrate on the day’s task; repainting calls for a similar 
exercise of will, for it needs the completion of each part 
attempted; but there is a tendency to put off the final effort 
till another day. I remember Sickert saying that, with 
Whistler, repainting was like trying to say the Lord’s Prayer 
in a shorter time than was possible — as though one would 
at first get as far as ‘ Thy will be. . . ’ at the next time would 
manage ‘on earth as...’ and so on; but never have the time 
to get through the whole prayer. 

After my visit to Spain, and a careful study of Goya’s 
painting, I had my canvases prepared 'with a red colour 
similar to that used by Goya. I found this an admirable 
ground for painting a premier coup. An unprimed canvas, 
sized, also serves for this. In later years I have been, perhaps, 
too little inclined to experiment with grounds and mediums. 
Thin paint, although easier to handle than solid paint, is 
inclined to sink and darken, while stiffer material, though not 
allowing the same subtlety of modelling and tenderness of 
pigment, gives a certain radiance, more of the reflecting 
surface of things; and, without oil or turpentine, paint keeps 
its freshness and purity. 

For some time, however, I remained under Whistler’s in- 
fluence. To Whistler any roughness of pigment was ab- 
horrent; he habitually scraped down his canvases after each 
day’s painting. But he was careful to place his model far 
back in the studio, well out of the range of direct light, so 
that he need not render the full power of colour and light. 
He was doubtless wise to limit himself in this way; but like 
others in need of defence, he thought the best way of de- 
fending himself was to attack; so he was unjust, at least when 
I knew him, to many of the French painters, who loved sun- 
light and full colour. He himself, in his younger days, came 
under Courbet’s influence, and his Piano picture, solidly 
painted, rich in colour and quality, remains one of his most 
satisfying works. 




B e s i d e s T oorop, I painted a portrait of Albert T oft, the A portrait 
first painting to find a place in a public gallery, and next, spoiled 
a small full-length of Conder. I gave this to Conder. It is 
now, I regret, in the Davis collection in the Luxembourg 
Gallery; for it is irretrievably spoiled. Conder, having 
allowed it to get covered with dust and dirt, coming home 
late one night, began to clean it with turpentine, and so re- 
moved much of the surface, before Sir Edmund Davis ac- 
quired it. I also painted Conder, reflected in a mirror, a 
canvas called Porphyrias Lover. For the woman’s figure 
a beautiful girl, Miss Marion Gray, sat; she was sent to me by 
Oscar Wilde, and I did many drawings from her. One of 
these Beardsley carried off; and later, much against my will, 
reproduced it in The Savoy. It was too slight a drawing for 

Another portrait I painted was of Cunninghame Graham 
in fencing dress. My meeting with Graham came about in 
an unusual way. Beardsley and I were at the first night of 
Shaw’s Arms and the Man , for which Beardsley had drawn 
a poster. We were both ardent admirers of Bernard Shaw, 
and followed the play intently. We laughed so frequently and 
heartily that we attracted the notice of an elderly lady who 
was sitting near. In the interval she came up to us, saying 
that our enthusiasm had given her so much pleasure, that she 
•would like to make our acquaintance; she introduced herself 
as Mrs Bontine — ‘ Robert Cunninghame Graham’s mother’, 



Meeting a she added, and ‘my son is a great friend of Mr Shaw’. She 
Socialist hoped we would come to see her, and at her house in Chester 
Square I met Robert, of whom she was so frankly, so justly, 

I had heard of Graham only vaguely as a Socialist who, at 
the time of the Trafalgar Square riots, a year before I came 
to London, had been imprisoned with John Burns; and as a 
thorn in the side of the House of Commons. I remember 
writing home that I had met a Socialist, as though that were 
a remarkable thing. How odd that seems to-day, when half 
the people one knows claim to be Socialists ! 

Graham was one of the most picturesque and picaresque 
figures of the day, and extremely entertaining. He had a 
witty and caustic tongue, told the best Scotch stories I had 
ever heard, wrote, fenced and rode a frisky horse with a long 
tail, all in an equally gallant manner. I liked to see him 
putting his fingers through his long, thick, golden-red hair, 
making it stand high above his fine, narrow, aristocratic fore- 
head. Twirling his moustaches, and holding his handsome 
person proudly erect, he would stride into the room with the 
swagger of a gaucho, and the elegance of a swordsman. 

He insisted on taking me, graceless as I was, to Angelo’s, 
then in St James’ Street, that I too might learn to fence. 
Whether I acquired any grace from the lessons I doubt; but 
I enjoyed the strenuous exercise, and the Regency atmosphere 
of Angelo’s; while Max and Beardsley, who used sometimes 
to join me there, looked on, fascinated by the survival of this 
classic establishment; now, alas, a memory only ! 

I often think now how Beardsley must have envied us, 
who were so robust and full of life. He must have known 
how slender were his own chances of living; yet he showed 
no sign. The two earliest letters he wrote me, in 1893, both 
refer to illness, and to difficulties with Lane, which I shared. 

I had never got on well with John Lane, but when, during 
the Wilde scandal, he dropped Beardsley, my scant respect 
for the man was still further diminished. I rather wondered 
that Lane managed to keep so many of his authors, Lionel 



Johnson, Lord de Tabley, John Davidson, William Watson A Scottish poet 
and others. For John Davidson I had a great respect; I 
liked his Fleet Street Eclogues and his Ballad of a Nun , and 
Beardsley particularly admired his play Mr Smith , a Tragedy. 

Perhaps we attributed qualities to Davidson which he did 
not possess; since Davidson cared not at all for the baroque 
fantasy which pleased Aubrey so much in his play. He was 
a serious-minded, straight-hitting Scot — the last man, I had 
thought, who would put an end to his life. But I never knew 
what a struggle he had. Though there was a vogue for minor 
poetry, there was also one for limited editions, so poets them- 
selves got little or nothing for their pains. For some reason 
I coupled Davidson with William Watson, perhaps because 
I often met them together at the Hogarth Club when Lane 
was entertaining his authors, and I wanted to draw them 
together. Davidson was willing, but William Watson pre- 
ferred to sit alone. Looking at my drawing of Davidson, 

Max remarked on the subtle way in which I had managed his 
toupee ; greatly to my surprise, for I had not noticed, to Max’s 
amusement, that he wore one. How much more observant 
was Max than I ! He told me that Davidson was far from 
wishing to look younger than in fact he was, but having to 
depend on journalism for a living, he feared a bald head 
would prejudice his chances. 

Lane certainly produced his books extremely well, and he 
had the courage to publish unknown or unpopular authors. 

He was above all the poets’ publisher, and he managed to 
monopolise Beardsley. Beardsley wrote to me while I was at 
Oxford: ‘Very many thanks for the beautiful Book of Love. 

It was so charming of you to remember it. I am looking 
forward to seeing your Verlaine in the Pall Mall Budget. 

I hope they will reproduce it properly. I have a hellish 
amount of work to get through during the next 20 days or 
so, and am wretchedly ill at the same time. However I intend 
to visit you at Oxford unless those two words have already 
become synonymous. Have you had a satisfactory explana- 
tion with Jean de Bodley? Or are you ready to join the 


A dressing-gown newly formed anti-Lane society? I suppose you saw Max’s 
for Beardsley latest caricatures. The George Moore I thought simply in- 
comparable. It is some time since I was at Vigo Street, so 
I have not had an opportunity of seeing his sketches of our- 
selves, or your own of Verlaine.’ 

And again later: ‘Thanks very much for your letter. I am 
sure you must have had a very funny time with Jean Lane 
[who by the way is behaving (/ think) very treacherously 
both to you and myself]. Am so glad you have got such a 
charming model. I have been very ill since you left — rather 
severe attacks of blood spitting and abominable bilious attack 
to finish me off. This is my first day up for some time. The 
Salome drawings have created a veritable fronde with George 
Moore at the head of the frondeurs. I have made definite 
arrangements about “ Masques Max Beerbohm is going to 
write the occasional verse. Will you be stopping in London 
at all before you go on to Oxford? Hope I shall see some- 
thing of you soon. Impossible for me to come over to Paris 
so soon. For one thing I should be funky of the sea in my 
present condition. I would like a dressing gown if you could 
get a nice one. Let me have a line if you see one. Don’t 
trouble about anything else. I should Hke a nice long one, 
full and ample. I have just found a shop where very jolly 
contemporary engravings from Watteau can be got quite 
cheaply. Cochin & Co. Pennell has just returned, but is off 
again to Chicago. He is very enthusiastic about your Oxford 

Beardsley was one of the first, and one of the few, to 
appraise Max’s caricatures at their true value. He was eq uall y 
quick to appreciate his writing, and a warm friendship sprang 
up between the two. Nor was Max slow to see the beauty 
of Beardsley’s work; indeed, his caricatures at this time bear 
witness to his sympathy with Aubrey’s style. Max wrote, 
soon after leaving Oxford: 

Whilst I write I am coming of age : I was bom twenty one 
years ago today and am ever so sorry that I cannot possibly 
come and live with you in Scarborough as you so charmingly 


I ^ 

v> SS 

* • il 

a v 1 SJ 


«3 >* 






ask me. I have to go into the country tomorrow for a week 'Salome censored 

to stay with relations and cannot possibly put them off. Why 

do I write on this odd paper? because it was wrapped up with 

two very lovely drawings by Aubrey Beardsley which J. Lane 

has just given me. They lie before me as I write: I am 

enamoured of them. So is John Lane: he said: “ How lucky 

I am to have got hold of this young Beardsley: look at the 

technique of his drawings ! What workmanship ! He never 

goes over the edges. 1 ” He never said anything of the kind 

but the criticism is suggestive for you, dear Will? And 

characteristic of Art’s middleman, the Publisher — for of such 

is the Chamber of Horrors. How brilliant I am ! I forget 

whether you like Salome or not. Salome is the play of which 

the drawings are illustrative? I have just been reading it 

again — and like it immensely — there is much, I think in it 

that is beautiful, much lovely writing — I almost wonder 

Oscar doesn’t dramatise it.’ 

‘I almost wonder Oscar doesn’t dramatise it’! Max had 
uncanny premonitions,* soon came the news that the censor 
wouldn’t sanction the performance of Salome. Wilde was 
very angry. Sarah Bernhardt had offered to play the part of 
Salome; but the censor was obdurate; no objection was 
raised to the publication of the play in book form, yet its 
presentation on the stage was forbidden. Wilde wrote from 

‘The Gaulois, the Echo de Paris, and the Pall Mall have 
all had interviews. I hardly know what new thing there is 
to say. The licenser of plays is nominally the Lord Cham- 
berlain, but really a common-place official — in the present 
case, a Mr Pigott — who panders to the vulgarity and hy- 
pocrisy of the English people, by licensing every low farce 
and vulgar melodrama — he even allows the stage to be used 
for the purpose of the caricaturing of the personalities of 
artists — and at the same moment that he prohibits Salome, 
he licensed a burlesque on “Lady Windermere’s Fan” in 
which an actor dressed up like me, and imitated my voice 
and manner ! ! ! 


Wilde on ‘The curious thing is this : all the arts are free in England 
censorship except the actor’s art; it is held by the censor that the stage 
degrades and that actors desecrate fine subjects — so the 
censor prohibits not the publication of Salome but its produc- 
tion : yet, not one actor has protested against this insult to the 
stage — not even Irving who is always prating about the art 
of the actor. — All the dramatic critics, except Archer of The 
World, agree with the censor that there should be a censor- 
ship over actors and acting — ! This shows how bad our 
stage must be, and also shows how Philistine the journalists 

He complains here of Irving, but he had previously praised 
Irving to me for habitually choosing bad plays ; thus showing, 
he said, that Irving realised the true importance of the actor. 
‘ Remember, my dear Will, that good plays can be read; only 
the actor’s genius makes a bad play bearable.’ 

Wilde admired, though he didn’t really like, Beardsley’s 
Salome illustrations ; he thought them too Japanese, as indeed 
they were. His play was Byzantine. When he gave me a copy 
on its first publication in its violet paper cover, he knew at 
once that it put me in mind of Flaubert. He admitted he had 
not been able to resist the theft. ‘Remember,’ he said with 
amusing unction, ‘ Dans la litterature il faut toujours tuer son 
pere.’ But I didn’t think he had killed Flaubert; nor did he, 
I believe. 

I fancy Beardsley was relieved to get his Salome drawings 
done. The inspiration of Morris and Burne-Jones was waning 
fast, and the eighteenth-century illustrators were taking the 
place of the Japanese print. Conder, and also Sickert I think, 
influenced Beardsley just at this time. I have some hesitation 
in suggesting that paintings of mine — the Souvenir of Scar- 
borough, for instance, and the studies of the girl in an 1830 
bonnet exhibited at the New English Art Club, were not 
without their effect on Beardsley’s outlook. Ross told me 
that in his introduction to Volpone, after Beardsley’s death, 
he had written of Beardsley’s debt to Conder and myself, 
but Smithers obliged him to take it out. This is not for a 


moment to take away from the originality of Beardsley’s con- The imitable 
ceptions ; but this change from the Japanese to the eighteenth Burne- Jones 
century was as marked as that from Morris to the Japanese. 

I remember Conder and myself chaffing Beardsley about 
the influence of Morris and Burne-Jones on his work, and 
Beardsley saying that while Burne-J ones was too remote from 
life he was inimitable as a designer. ‘Imitable Aubrey!’ 

I agreed, ‘imitable surely?’ a jest that delighted Aubrey. 

There was truth in Beardsley’s statement, and in my jest. 

Burne-Jones was indeed one of the great English designers, 
but it was not the true Burne-Jones who was imitable. For 
his design was a child of the imagination, which had led him 
into an enchanted land, hidden behind high, rocky moun- 
tains, where Knights and Princesses rode through dark forests 
and wandered dreaming by moated granges, or looked out 
from towers of brass, and about whose shores mermaidens 
swam and centaurs stamped their hairy hoofs. But wasn’t all 
this long since discovered by Mantegna, and Piero di Cosimo 
and Botticelli? you may ask; and what of our music-hall and 
girls on sofas? had we, or Manet and Degas, seen them first? 

Beardsley was too intelligent not to recognise the stature 
of an artist like Burne-Jones. He knew well that a little 
master was all he, or any of us, could aspire to be; we were 
too interested in every aspect of the visible world, had still 
too much faith in what fife had to offer us, to understand the 
wistful vision of a painter who too loved the visible world, 
the great hills, the valleys through which flowed rivers re- 
flecting earth and sky, and fields bright with flowers; but one 
whom the sordidness of life saddened and bewildered. 

Beardsley and I began writing a dialogue together, to 
no end, I think, but our own amusement. Some years 
afterwards I came upon a page or two, and gave them to 
Robert Ross, who fancied them. Beardsley was a brilliant 
writer. He read me the original manuscript of Under the Hill, 
afterwards printed in an expurgated form in The Savoy. He 
wrote with astonishing ease and command of language. When 
he moved to Chester Terrace, he would often come round in 


L’ enfant terrible the morning to my studio, hastily dressed and 'without a 
collar. One day he began scribbling some verses about three 
mus icians ; shortly afterwards he sent me the whole poem. 

He was a tireless worker. His work done, Aubrey loved 
to get into evening clothes and drive into the town. So did 
Max and I. I used to infuriate the older members of the 
Chelsea Club by passing in front of the windows wearing 
white gloves and evening clothes. Nor did my conversation 
annoy them less ; for the Chelsea Club was a kind of minia- 
ture Arts Club, frequented by cautious candidates for the 
Academic fold, whose opinions it was a temptation, too 
rarely resisted, to outrage. No doubt I made myself 
thoroughly objectionable, and deserved to be unpopular; 
but I was supposed to be clever, and being irrepressible 
was indulgently accepted as an enfant terrible by most of 
the older men. 

When Swan was elected a full Academician, the Chelsea 
Club gave him a dinner. Swan was a good fellow, and in 
his way a real artist, but his speech was a little pompous; it 
suggested we had only to do as he did and we too would live 
to become Academicians. So when he sat down I stood up 
and begged to be allowed to couple the name of another dis- 
tinguished Academician with Swan’s, that of Leader! Steer, 
Tonks, Frederick Brown, Russell and Sargent were regular 
members of the Chelsea Club, and we formed a group apart. 
Maitland and Roussell, both * followers ’ of Whistler, used the 
Club as well; so did Stirling Lee and Holloway, an old land- 
scape painter, of whom Whisder painted a small full-length. 
Roussell was a Frenchman, intelligent, witty and a little 
michant. He was a fastidious painter and etcher, but a poor 
draughtsman; but not so poor a one as another of Whistler’s 
henchmen, Mortimer Menpes. When Menpes shall go to 
Heaven, I used to say, he will be tried in earner a\ Roussell 
told me that while on his way to dine with Whistler, he had 
met Pellegrini and asked him to come along. ‘Dine with 
Visdaire ! Oh no ! One salade, one sardine, ’arf a crown for 
a cab ! Oh no !’ But Beardsley’s sudden leap into feme upset 


etchers and illustrators, of whom there were many, and Robert Ross 
roused their hostility, not against him alone, but against any- 
one hold enough to defend him. 

One of Beardsley’s most ardent supporters was Robert 
Ross. He was a general favourite. Although not himself a 
creative person, he had, in those days especially, a genius for 
friendship. No man had a wider circle of friends than he. He 
had a delightful nature, was an admirable story-teller, and a 
wit; above all he was able to get the best out of those he 
admired. Oscar Wilde was never wittier than when at Ross’s 
parties; the same was true of Aubrey Beardsley and Max 
Beerbohm. Ross was a member of the Hogarth Club. On one 
occasion he had been entertaining a party, one of which was 
Oscar Wilde. After dinner we adjourned to the Hogarth 
Club. As we entered the room, an old member of the Club, 
ostentatiously staring at Wilde, rose from his chair and made 
for the door. One or two other members also got up. Every- 
one felt uncomfortable. Wilde, aware of what was happening, 
strode up to the member who was about to leave, and haughtily 
exclaimed : ‘ How dare you insult a member of your own club. 

I am Mr Ross’s guest, an insult to me is an insult to him. 

I insist upon your apologising to Mr Ross.’ The member 
addressed had nothing to do but to pretend very lamely that 
no insult had been intended, and he and the others returned to 
their seats. I thought this showed great pluck on Oscar’s part. 

But Wilde could scarcely complain if sinister rumours 
were beginning to circulate. In Beardsley there was no such 
perversity; and Beardsley, now that we look back on his few 
years of hectic, hurried life, is a touching and lovable figure. 

But at the time, with his butterfly ties, his too smart clothes 
with their hard, padded shoulders, his face — as Oscar said — 

‘like a silver hatchet’ under his spreading chestnut hair, 
parted in the middle and arranged low over his forehead, his 
staccato voice and jumpy, resdess manners, he appeared a 
portent of change — symbolic of the movement which was 
associated — and was to end — with the last years of the 


The Yellow Meanwhile Lane feverishly reaped the harvest of de- 
Book cadence. He started The Yellow Book, the first number of 
which included most of the names now associated with the 
’nineties. Oscar "Wilde, Aubrey Beardsley, William Watson, 
John Davidson, Crackenthorpe, Le Gallienne, Lionel John- 
son and Lord de Tabley were Lane’s strong men. Lord de 
Tabley had wandered in among the younger poets much as 
Brabazon became associated with the New English painters. 
Both belonged to an older generation; neither had been re- 
cognised by their contemporaries; both were delighted to 
find themselves, in their old age, honoured and admired by 
us youngsters. Both had the courtly demeanour of the great 
world; in their presence our speech and manners became 
gentler, and Lane cooed like a dove. The deference paid to 
us younger painters by Brabazon was almost embarrassing. 
A cultured country gentleman, whose passion for painting in 
water-colours (he carried his paint box with him wherever 
he went) was held to be an amiable trait, he had been quietly 
filling portfolios with lovely drawings for 60 years. One 
night, dining with a friend, Sargent noticed some drawings 
on the wall, and was told they were Brabazon’s. He at once 
recognised their unique qualities; and Brabazon at the age of 
80 found himself suddenly accepted as a master of his craft, 
elected a member of the New English Art Club, and enjoying 
the esteem of a younger generation. He was an honoured 
visitor at Glebe Place, where he often came, delighting to 
talk of painters and painting, of Goya especially, whose work 
he had studied closely. I had written something about Goya 
in The Saturday Review, and Brabazon wrote, encouraging 
me to write more. 

September 23 



Dear Mr Rothenstein, Sussex 

I must write a few words to you to say how grateful l am 
for yr. 2 articles in the Saturday Review. I have preached 


Goya ‘to the winds * for years Sc no one ever seemed to 
know anything about him and to care still less. I wd. so 
wish if you wd. give the world an elaborate critique on all 
his works. The splendid portraits in private collections in 
Madrid reminding one sometimes of Gainsborough — so 
delicate and so delicious in tone. He cd. be brutal enough 
as you well know in some moods — 

thanking you again for yr splendid notices 

Believe me 

Yrs Most truly 


from Braba^on 



Acquaintance O argent I met soon after I had settled in Chelsea. He 

with Sargent had liked a canvas of mine, of a peasant girl painted at 
Montigny,andJacomb-Hoodbroughthimtosee me. Ihad,of 
course, seen his paintings at the Royal Academy and at the 
Salon, and admired their Brilliant virtuosity; though I didn’t 
think of him as inhabiting the same mansion as Whistler and 
Degas, Monet and Renoir. But on meeting Sargent I was at 
once aware of something large and dignified in his nature, 
something imposing in his person and manner, which set him 
apart and commanded respect. Reticent, yet cordial, there 
could be none of the easy familiarity with Sargent, which 
existed between Steer, Sickert, Tonks, Furse and myself, 
although there was nothing superior about him. T.ilrp Henry 
James, he had the English correctness of most Europeanised 
Americans, which brought a certain je ne sais quoi of self- 
consciousness into his relations with his friends. We all ac- 
knowledged his immense accomplishment as a painter to be 
far beyond anything of which we were capable. But the 
disparity between his gifts and our own we were inclined to 
discount, by thinking that we had qualities that somehow 
placed us among the essential artists, while he, in spite of his 
great gifts, remained outside the charmed circle. I was used 
to hearing both Whistler and Degas speak disparagingly of 
Sargent’s work; even Helleu, Boldini and Gandara regarded 
him more as a brilliant executant than as an artist of high 
tank. One must bear in mind, too, that there were a number 


of extremely efficient painters among the older generation. Two generations 
who were also outside the small circle of men whom we 
looked on as the ‘twice bom’: Sargent’s master, Carolus 
Duran, and Tissot, Duez, Gervex, Roll, Bonnat, Boldini, 
were all men of great executive ability, able to carry out any 
subject which attracted them. It was not then the fashion, 
nor is it now, to admire Carolus; but few modern portraits 
can rival, or even approach, his Lady with the Glove , in 
the Luxembourg Gallery. It seems as though the pursuit 
of a certain kind of artistry has lowered the standard of 
painting throughout Europe. Manet, Degas and Fantin- 
Latour had, together with their artistic qualities, an equip- 
ment and knowledge equal to those of the best academic 
painters. This was not the case with Whisder, whose vision 
and impeccable taste replaced what he lacked of constructive 
power and virtuosity; and none of us, neither Steer nor 
Sickert nor Conder, had at his disposal the equipment which 
our older contemporaries carried with comfort and ease. Nor 
was it only in France that the older painters were able to do 
difficult things. Who among those who looked to Watts and 
the Pre-Raphaelites for inspiration could achieve such a work 
as his Wounded Hawk, one of Watts’ earliest pieces? And 
who could approach, in conception or execution, paintings 
like Watts’ Waggoner and Horses, or Madox Brown’s 
Work, or Farewell to England ? Ricketts and Shannon 
were in the same relation to the Pre-Raphaelites as Sickert, 

Steer and Conder to the Impressionists. We all trusted 
vaguely to our ‘artistic’ qualities to bring us up to the 
mountain top; the critics too flouted us, not for our incom- 
petence, but for our supposed eccentricity: MacColl, the best 
among them, himself preferred suggestion to thoroughness, 
charm of colour to solid construction. So far has this in- 
sensibility to incompetence gone, that critics, nay even some 
artists themselves, actually regard this as a sign of genius, and 
have come to believe that impotence is the sign of creative 
ability; a strange paradox! Prophetic, in truth, was Hans 
Andersen’s story of the King and his golden clothes. 


ing with Sargent must have given me some advice about portrait 
Sargent painting, for I find in a letter from him the following: 

‘I have been in Paris for a week, and am only just re- 
turned — I left Abbey in Paris — Hotel de Lille et d’ Albion, 
rue St Honore — on his way south. Do come in any day — 
if you will take pot luck at lunch at i o’clock. Hood told me 
that he had told you certain views of mine about the danger 
of going in for portraits. I hope you did not think me 

Yours sincerely, 


I have now forgotten what Hood said, but I am sure it 
was excellent advice. Sargent at once saw that I was in- 
sufficiently trained; he thought he could help me, and pro- 
posed I should join him to paint a nude in his studio. I was 
glad enough of the chance to see Sargent at work, and to 
benefit by his counsel; but although the nude I painted was 
thoroughly bad, and Sargent’s was a marvel of constructive 
skill, I tried to believe, despite this clear evidence, that 
there was something vaguely superior in my temperamental 
equipment. Sargent’s reticence prevented his telling me how 
bad my painting was, and I was too stupid and conceited to 
see that here was a chance of acquiring the constructive 
practice I lacked, and above all, a scientific method of work. 

Sargent, when he painted the size of life, placed his canvas 
on a level with the model, walked back until canvas and sitter 
were equal before his eye, and was thus able to estimate the 
construction and values of his representation. He drew with 
his brush, beginning with the shadows, and gradually evolving 
his figure from the background by means of large, loose 
volumes of shadow, half tones and light, regardless of 
features or refinements of form, finally bringing the masses 
of light and shade closer together, and thus assembling the 
figure. He painted with large brushes and a full palette, 
using oil and turpentine freely as a medium. When he re- 
painted, he would smudge and efface the part he wished to 



reconstruct, and begin again from a shapeless mass. He The acquiring 
never used what was underneath. I had acquired the habit of of technique 
standing near to my canvas, some way from the model. If 
one paints sight-size there is method in this practice too; but 
often my figure was larger than sight-size, and I struggled in 
consequence with difficulties which, had I followed Sargent’s 
example, I must have avoided. There is a common and mis- 
taken belief that we instinctively feel the right way of doing 
things. The contrary is true. Take any instrument — the 
common scythe, or the woodman’s axe ; when at first we are 
shown the correct way of handling these, it seems unnatural 
and awkward. Efficient use of either has to be painfully 
acquired. So with brush and pencil : they, too, are tools, and 
must be correctly handled; and the placing of the canvas near 
to, or at a given distance from, the subject, so that the sitter 
and image can be compared together, is an essential factor of 
representative painting. Painters often deplore the loss of 
tradition, and speak with regret of the days when artists 
ground their own colours; but knowledge of the visual 
methods of the older painters, rather than of their technical 
practices, seems to me of equal, if not of greater importance. 

The methods of Velazquez and Hals were not unlike Sar- 
gent’s; but how Titian, Rubens and Rembrandt painted is 
unknown to us; for while they were masters of rhythmical 
construction, they were able to reproduce, in their studies, 
the subtle details of eyes and lips, of hands and finger nails, 
with no loss of breadth. How they achieved an appearance 
of unity, as seen from a distance, combined with the clear, 
satisfying rendering of features visible only when close to 
the model, is a mystery to painters. Sargent had made ad- 
mirable copies after both Velazquez and Hals, and had closely 
studied their methods. He could indicate hands and heads 
and figures with surprising felicity; but he too often failed 
to reveal the solidity and radiance of form. 

But we are apt to forget that each one of us can use only 
those gifts, great or small, which the gods have given him. 

It is the use we make of our gifts, not the character of the 




Limitations gifts themselves, which merit praise, or else blame. And no 
of Sargent man made fuller or more honourable use of his talents than 

Yet I never felt quite comfortable in front of his paintings 
or drawings. I admired, and respected, but I never loved. 
Again and again, feeling my own inability acutely, I have 
said to myself, * Sargent would have achieved triumphantly 
where you have fumbled and failed,’ and have blamed myself 
for having criticised a man of such evident stature; but I 
could never overcome a certain hesitation in paying full 
tribute to Sargent’s paintings, a hesitation which stood in the 
way of full intimacy. 

I felt that something essential was lacking in Sargent. 
He was like a hungry man with a superb digestion, who need 
not be too particular what he eats. Sargent’s unappeased 
appetite for work allowed him to paint everything and any- 
thing without selection, anywhere, at any time. It was this 
uncritical hunger for mere painting which distinguished him 
from the French and English painters whom he rivalled, and 
often surpassed, in facility. He accepted any problem set him 
with equal zest; it was for him to solve it successfully. He 
never relied solely on his facility, but gave all his energies to 
each task. 

I was touched by Sargent’s generous enthusiasm for 
Manet and Monet, for Rodin and Whistler; for, as I said, 
I had heard Degas and Whistler speak disparagingly of 
Sargent, as a skilful portrait painter who differed little from 
the better Salon painters then in fashion. He was allowed to 
be Carolus Duran’s most capable disciple, but not a markedly 
personal artist. With the exception of Rodin, I never heard 
anyone in Paris acknowledge the worth of Sargent’s per- 

Even Helleu, his closest friend, whose work Sargent adu- 
lated, regarded him with a patronising eye — a worthy painter, 
a dear good fellow; scarcely an artist. 

On the other hand, at the Royal Academy where, having 
settled in England, he exhibited regularly, Sargent appeared 


as a daring innovator. Although he had as many commissions Human side of 

as he could execute, they came chiefly from Americans. In portraiture 

London his warmest admirers were the wealthy Jews. But 

it would be a mistake to suppose that Sargent preferred the 

aristocratic to the Jewish type, that he painted Jews because 

they happened to be his chief clients. On the contrary, he 

admired, and thoroughly enjoyed painting, the energetic 

features of the men, and the exotic beauty of the women of 

Semitic race* He urged me to paint Jews, as being at once the 

most interesting models and the most reliable patrons. The 

more conservative English were at first shy of facing the cold 

light of Sargent's studio; the absurd legend that he brought 

out the worst side of his sitters 3 characters also helped to 

keep people away. 

There was neither flattery nor satire in his portraits; his 
problem was to make his work visually convincing. Not for 
him any short cuts; his integrity was unquestionable. And 
yet in his brilliant rendering of the men and women who sat 
to him, he seemed to miss something of the mystery of life. 

I remember how this sense of the dramatic element of good 
portraiture came on me when looking one day at photographs 
of Titian’s and Giorgione's portraits of young men, so proud 
in their bearing, and from whom death, I suddenly felt, was 
never far off. But what relation have Sargent's men and 
women to the drama of life and death? Sargent rarely suc- 
ceeded in removing his figures from the model stand, from 
the Louis XV or Louis XVI chair or settee dear to the new 
rich; from pearl necklaces and glittering medals, and Worth 
dresses of velvet and satin. Looking, too, at his out-of-door 
work, so accidental in composition, at those sparkling 
paintings of flickering sunlight over mountains and plains, 
over trees and buildings, I felt as though they had sprung 
up before him by a sort of magic: feverish, transitory ap- 
paritions with no past and no future, that would fade away 
after he had folded up his easel and painting stool* 

But this was, after all, the real Sargent; for the qualities 
I missed in his painting were qualities he did not particularly 



A cosmopolitan admire in others. It was not the gravity of Velazquez and 
studio Hals that he cared for so much as their perfection of 
handling. Similarly with his admiration for Manet; it was 
for Manet’s Brilliance of execution that he preferred him to 
austerer painters like Fantin-Latour and Legros. Cezanne’s 
work he altogether disliked. Oddly enough, when later I was 
painting Jews in the East End, he thought I was aiming at 
too abstract a representation, and wanted me to paint scenes 
in Petticoat Lane, or the interiors of tailors’ shops, as showing 
the more intimate side of Jewish life. Yet it was just this lack 
of intimacy that I missed in his portraits. But then Sargent 
himself had little of this intimacy in his own life. His studio 
was that of a cultivated cosmopolitan, filled with French, 
Italian and Spanish furniture and bric-a-brac; he could 
scarcely be expected to paint people in the middle-class 
interiors in which Degas, Fantin-Latour and Cezanne saw 
their sitters. 

But herein Sargent was true, and wisely true, to himself. 
On the other hand, when he gave up portrait painting to 
devote himself solely to his Boston decorations, he showed 
unworldliness and a touching desire to escape from the 
slavery of the model-stand; but his shortcomings were at 
once revealed. The American element in his nature asserted 
itself; he approached the scene of the Divine Comedy not 
with the great Mantuan, not with the noble Giotto, nor yet 
with the passionate El Greco, but with Edwin Abbey by his 
side. Truth to tell, Sargent’s taste and judgment in p ainting 
were very unexpected. He was a keen admirer not only of 
Hals and Velazquez, but also of El Greco andofTiepolo;and, 
what was more strange, of the early work of Rossetti. He 
was an ardent musician. When I was painting with him, he 
always improvised on the piano while the model was resting. 
He had many musical friends, chief among them Fan re, 
whom he invited to England to stay with him, taking end- 
less trouble to introduce him to musical people in London, 
inviting them to his studio to hear Faure play his own 


Like Steer and myself, he was a keen chess-player, and A mother’s 
he often asked us round to his mother’s flat for a game in the pride 
evenings. He adored his mother, while her pride in him was 
touching to see — a quiet undemonstrative pride, as became a 
lady of old Bostonian lineage. 

Perhaps Sargent’s closest friends were Laurence Harrison, 
and his wife, ‘Alma Strettell’, the translator of Roumanian 
folk-songs, and also of Emile Verhaeren. I had known them 
both in Paris, and valued Harrison’s judgment and his work 
more than that of most artists. It was difficult to induce him 
to show his canvases, for Harrison belittled himself, and was 
over modest; but some of his interiors and sea-pieces reached 
the level of Steer at his best, I thought. 

Harrison was a man of unusually fine taste, taste apparent 
throughout his beautiful house in Cheyne Walk. Besides 
Sargent, Steer, Tonks, George Moore and MacColl met con- 
stantly round his table. 

Those were days of vital friendships in art, when our faith 
and trust in one another were as yet undimmed. 


An exhibition 
with Shannon 


I had not been long in Chelsea when I made friends with 
a cultured picture-dealer named van Wisselingh. At his 
gallery in Brook Street I found paintings and drawings by 
Daumier, then little known in London, by Delacroix, Cour- 
bet, Millet and Mathew Maris. He generously offered me the 
use of his gallery; I talked the matter over at the Vale, and 
Shannon agreed to join me in a small exhibition of prints and 
drawings. Shannon’s work was then little known, but his 
contributions to The Dial , and his delicate illustrations to 
Oscar Wilde’s House of Pomegranates , had impressed a few 
discerning people; at the exhibition we held at Brook Street 
his sanguine and silver-point drawings, exquisitely mounted 
and framed, and a selection of his lithographs, created im- 
mediate interest, and established him as a refined and able 
draughtsman. His prints and drawings found many pur- 

I too, on this occasion, sold some of my drawings, in- 
cluding a pastel of a beautiful girl whom I had met at the 
Vale, whom Shannon had drawn more than once. At the 
Vale she was called Amaryllis; she looked like a ‘Rossetti’, 
had rich auburn hair, and a heart of gold. Shortly after- 
wards I heard that the purchaser of this pastel had bought 
my painting of Conder as well, at the New English Art Club, 
and Francis Bate, then, and for long afterwards, acting as 
honorary secretary to the club, wrote that the purchaser 
wished to make my acquaintance. His name was Llewellyn 


Hacon, a bachelor, a conveyancer by profession; I met him A generous 
first at his club, and found him a typical clubman; a man of patron 
the world, well read and informed on a variety of subjects, 
with that special knowledge of the secrets of notables, past 
and present, which men of his character possess. His friends 
were mostly clubmen like himself: good-living, easy-going, 
slighdy cynical, prosperous men. Hacon, stout, ruddy and 
clean-shaved, looked the picture of a seventeenth-century 
country gentleman; he might have walked out of one of 
Congreve’s or Wycherley’s comedies. The character was 
new to me; he on his part was amused at meeting an artist, 
an enthusiastic youngster, eager for experience, full of illu- 
sions as to the importance of his work. For Hacon had rather 
lost his own zest for life, was neglecting his practice, and 
allowing his fine intellect to get slack; and I think this fresh 
interest in art, and the new acquaintances it brought him, 
revived his spirits and renewed his attachment to life. 

He proposed I should paint his portrait; he would take a 
house in die Isle of Wight, hire a yacht to do some ‘mud- 
dodging’, and any other work I might do there he would 
take off my hands. This all seemed too good to be true; but 
true, at least for a time, it was. A house was hired at 
Yarmouth, where Hacon’s buder and a manservant looked 
after us. 

Hacon seemed to enjoy sitting; and there was the yacht, 
with a skipper and a couple of handy men, in which we sailed 
round the island. I enjoyed the sight of the proud yachts, 
leaning over at dangerous angles as they cut through the 
waters of the Solent, and the sensation of steering the sensi- 
tive and responsive organism that I discovered a yacht to be. 

Hacon’s portrait finished, we returned to town, where I 
introduced him to Conder, and to Ricketts and Shannon. 

Hacon had generously offered to finance me — taking so 
many pictures and drawings each year. With a yearly allow- 
ance of £100 from my father, and with the confidence of 
youth, I declined. But knowing Ricketts to be eager to 
design type and to embark on book production, I urged 

1 99 

Romance Hacon to finance this promising adventure instead. This he 
through a was ready to do, and again a new interest came into his life. 
portrait Hacon had hung my pastel of ’Ryllis in his rooms in St 
James’ Place, and was anxious to meet her. She had come, 
at my invitation, for a day’s yachting, and there and then 
Hacon had fallen in love with her. They were married soon 
after, and as Ricketts was leaving the Vale, Hacon took over 
the lease, and the Vale became under its gracious and radiant 
mistress a still more hospitable and cherished haven. 

The Hacons kept open house: Max Beerbohm, Conder, 
Ricketts and Shannon, Laurence Binyon, Harry Reece and 
I met constantly round their table. Binyon spoke rarely; 
indeed, sometimes I thought his silence meant disapproval, 
until I found it was not so, that behind a shy and diffident 
manner was a rich, humorous and most human nature. In 
Binyon I found a life-long friend, one who was quick to 
perceive and to welcome unusual talent in others, who re- 
joiced in what was new and vital in literature and painting, 
and yet loved, and retained, a fine taste for scholarship and 
lofty language. His London Visions had just appeared: he 
was a true poet, I thought. Binyon was urging me to write 
on Goya; he shared my admiration for Goya’s etchings, and 
I wrote a small book for a series which Binyon edited. I was 
a source of trouble to poor Binyon, no doubt, for I find 
many letters on the subject passing between us. Binyon, 
who was already in the Print Room, was one of the few 
scholars who consulted us artists — rare modesty, which I have 
seldom met with in the expert. Sidney Colvin would some- 
times show drawings about which he was doubtful; but he 
would never pay one the compliment of asking directly and 
openly for an opinion. He waited for an opinion to be 
offered, and no doubt considered it, among others. I do not 
believe an experienced draughtsman with two drawings, an 
original and a copy before him, would mistake one for the 
other. On my return from Spain I remember I found a wash 
lithograph among the Goya drawings at the British Museum, 
which Colvin for long refused to believe was other than an 


original drawing. Finally an expert lithographer examined Beginnings of 
it with a glass and pronounced it a print hitherto unknown, the Vale Press 

Ricketts and Shannon moved to Beaufort Street, where 
they prepared title-pages, engraved wood-blocks and designed 
type for the forthcoming books of the Vale Press. A little 
shop was found behind Regent Street for which Shannon 
painted a lovely swinging sign, and Charles Holmes, being 
now free, was induced to look after the new venture. 

Among the early publications was a little paper-covered 
set of three lithographs I had made of Verlaine, and I was 
proud to see my name in the finely-printed catalogue of 
the Vale Press; and I never regretted having assisted, in a 
modest way, the birth of the beautiful books which issued 
from the fertile brain of Charles Ricketts. 

Through my recent exhibition with Shannon, I gained 
other valuable friendships: those of Mrs J. R. Green, of 
Elizabeth Robins, of Lawrence Hodson, and of the Michael 
Fields. Mrs Green showed me endless kindness, and her 
house in Kensington Square, where many of the more adven- 
turous characters and thinkers of the time met together, 
became, after the Beerbohms’, the most friendly and familiar 
to me in London. 

Mrs Green knew I had rather a struggle to keep going, 
and was constantly trying to get me commissions, asking me 
frequently to dinner parties at her house in Kensington 
Square, where I met many attractive people: Stopford Brooke, 

Mrs Henry Myers, J. J. Jusserand, John O’Leary, Miss Mary 
Kingsley and Mrs Hugh Bell and her daughter, Gertrude. 

Gertrude Bell was one of the few young people to be found 
at Mrs Green’s parties. She was exceptionally intelligent, but 
she gave little idea of the powerful personality which was 
growing within her. 

A dominating figure at Kensington Square was Miss Mary 
Kingsley. She had recently come from Central Africa, and 
stories of her courage and resource as a traveller were on 
everyone’s lips. I was rather taken back to find her, striking 
talker though she was, almost aitchless. I gathered that she 


A night-class 
for novelists 

were at the service of all his friends. Among these was 
Zangwill, who visited Friday’s Hill just after I left. I heard 
from Logan: 

‘Zangwill was here — it was the last of our parties for the 
summer. Have you seen Mrs Woods’ boot? I wonder what 
it will be like ? Zangwill’s novel, “ The Master ” is finished— 
everybody is writing about artists— you people are in great 
demand as models. I am going to start a literary “ Carlo- 
rossi , a night class for lady novelists — will you pose — vou 
used to so well ! 

‘If the star I follow wanders to the London skies I will 
come and see your Early- Victorian ladies and your co- 
operated nude.’ 

Zangwill had won fame with his Children of the Ghetto ; 
but The Master, , his next book, was a disappointment. It 
was, as Logan wrote, about artists; but no novelist, not even 
Henry James, has to my mind done a convincing study of a 
painter or sculptor. We posed right enough; but as happens 

m a night-class, the drawings were never well enough con- 
structed. ° 

The following letter from Logan is characteristic of the 

— a — 

Friday s Hill 9 

Dear Rothenstein ? Haslemere . 

I got back here a day or two ago, after a delightful visit It 

3“ * **>>y old wk -ith f 

“ soon » 1 I felt myself back in igJ 

A footman ran out across the lawn to let my trap in; Lady 
Jane received me, and we walked out in the twilight into a 
long and ancient terrace, with over-arching elms^own the 
green perspective of which I saw advancing S several Sens 

SL y °3 T r ^ fl ° W ^ ^ 

dogs-and of course I saw at once that they were walking 


out of the English novel to welcome me. Indeed the whole Out of a novel 

time I was between the covers of the old fashioned novel; in 

the still hot afternoons I would sit talking to Lady Jane; a 

little way off the squire was surveying his acres and whistling 

to his dogs, while from the river that lapsed away below the 

terrace there came echoes of talk and laughter, and then we 

would see a boat splashing up slowly, in which a young lady 

in pink was being rowed by a charming young man in white. 

Their talk was about the Prince Consort, I make sure, and 
Landseer’s wonderful pictures of animals and Canova’s sculp- 
ture, which he said was what one must admire. But Lady 
Jane and I were more serious; fixing her eye on the horizon, 
she told me of the deplorable changes that were coming over 
the country side; old families gone away. Their places taken 
by dreadful nouveaux riches', the peasantry losing their re- 
verence for the squires; the farmers aping gentlemen, & even 
maids in the best houses wearing hats with flowers in them 
instead of bonnets. Lady Jane was short and thin and strenu- 
ous, she had a fine even aristocratic profile and always wore 
a creaking silk dress with a train. We found that we had many 
sympathies in common, and we both deplored the dreadful 
spread of Atheism and Socialism, and all their evil conse- 
quences; old places ceasing to be kept up as they used to be; 
men of place and position marrying Americans, of whose 
antecedents Heaven only knows what they are. 

Then we agreed too about the horrid tone of modem 
French literature, which, as we put it, always left a bad taste 
in the mouth — and as for the pictures, well, it was hardly 
decent so much as to mention them. 

Poor Lady Jane! She showed me her needlework, & a 
polar bear on an iceberg that she had painted on a screen 

Friday’s Hill lifts its slopes up in the sunshine and it is very 
hot and quiet. We called on Mrs C — yesterday. I don’t 
think I liked her very much; she talked of her novels and 
publishers, as one would talk of things made and sold by the 
yard, and when I tried to throw in a joke or compliment, she 
would only pause for a moment, fix me with a cold eye, and 


New London then continue. If you knew with what impatience I expect 
friends the favour of your reply, I assure myself your charity would 
oblige you to set at quiet the mind of 


This ending is out of an old book. Is it not charming? 

In London other friendships were forming, with the 
Vernon Lushingtons, the Phillimores and others. Furse at 
this time was engaged to Miss Eleanor Butcher. She and her 
sisters, Mrs Crawley and Mrs (afterwards Lady) Prothero, 
were three enchanting ladies, spirited, enlightened and 
vivacious talkers. I soon ceased to regret Paris. While I 
lived in France, I believed life to be freer and more quick- 
ening than elsewhere. But I soon came to think, in spite of 
Whistler’s jibes (he asked me if it was true that I was to 
become a naturalised English artist), that English social life 
was the flower of European civilisation. I was not thinking 
of the aristocracy, of whom I knew little, but of the people 
I was meeting, of their considerateness and hospitality, their 
easy manners, freedom from prejudice and good feeling 
towards one another, combined with a reticence which was 
far removed from narrow-mindedness. There were so many 
people who seemed not only incapable of mean actions, but 
of harbouring mean thoughts. Such natures as Eleanor 
Butcher’s made life seem more worth living; to have her 
friendship, and that of others like her, was, I felt, a privi- 
lege. Alas ! she who so loved life was to lose it soon. Nor 
was her sister, Mrs Crawley, destined to survive her for 

Two other ladies of great charm and character, whose 
friendship I likewise valued, were Ida and Una Taylor. 
People who have never known the quality of the Victorian 
atmosphere may be excused an ill-informed attitude towards 
it. Sir Henry Taylor had been associated with the most 
eminent men of his time, and the daughters were a mine of 
information about the Gladstonian period. They were both 
ardent Home-Rulers. John Redmond was one of their in- 


timates. And the example of finely-bred women caring less Watts explains 
for their private privileges than for public causes, was not a picture 
then so familiar to me as it afterwards became. No wonder 
man y delightful people came to their little house in Mont- 
pelier Square. There I first met Watts. He was then a very 
old man, very gentle, obviously delicate in health, but of 
serene and dignified aspect. He wore a black velvet skull-cap 
and a fine cambric shirt, with delicate wristbands setting off 
b e a u tiful, old, veined hands. When I spoke with admiration 
of one of his latest exhibited pictures — a great oak tree 
strangled by ivy — he said hesitatingly that he had something 
in his mind at the time which inspired it, though he scarcely 
liked to speak of this to me — the undisciplined art of the day 
slowly sapping the life of a centuries-old artistic inheritance. 

In the presence of a man of Watts’ character and achieve- 
ment, I realised how trivial our painting must appear in his 
eyes; and how misguided our lives. Watts and the Pre- 
Raphaelites are now held in small esteem; but they are still 
with us, to be assailed. How many of us now painting will 
survive to meet with similar treatment by a succeeding 

Watts’ didactic comment had some point: compared with 
the giants then still alive, Watts and Whistler, Burne-Jones 
and Ruskin, William Morris, Meredith, Hardy and Swin- 
burne, we were little men. Consider the achievements of 
these men, and their relation to the great social and aesthetic 
movements of their time. A generation which knew these 
veterans was reluctant to accept Oscar Wilde, Sickert, 

Beardsley, George Moore and Crackenthorpe as their suc- 

While Sickert, Steer and Beardsley represented the ‘new’ 
art, Le Gallienne’s name then stood for the ‘new’ poetry, 
as Hubert Crackenthorpe’s stood for the ‘new’ short story. 

Although Kipling had shown how brilliantly an Englishman 
could handle this form of writing, the younger short story 
writers looked to France — to Maupassant especially not 
only for their style, but also for their subject matter. Cracken- 


Some minor thorpe, basing his stories on Guy de Maupassant, was thought 
writers to be a daring, an immoral innovator. Poor Crackenthorpe ! 
His life was as short as one of his stories. Far from being 
daring, he was rather timid; he belonged to a good, solid 
family, lived a quiet life in a workman’s flat in Chelsea, and 
was devoted to his wife. It was rather she who was free from 
prejudice. Forty years ago a man felt it more of a disgrace 
when his wife took the reins into her own hands and drove 
away with another man on the box seat, than he would do 
to-day. But when poor Crackenthorpe put an end to his life, 
it was said to be the judgment of God for adoring French 
idols. There was Frederick Wedmore too, a thin nature, he 
seemed to me, and a querulous. But some held Wedmore to 
be a master of English prose, and of the short story. I thought 
him a master of prosiness, and though he praised my draw- 
ings in his articles, and had me make his portrait, he wearied 
me. Nor did Henry Harland, another writer of short stories, 
impress me. Such very minor writers were so many of these 
men, yet their pretences were not small. There was one 
writer, however, who stood apart from the aesthetic school, 
and who, if he looked abroad, looked rather to Norway than 
to France. This was Bernard Shaw. 

Bernard Shaw I had met soon after I settled in Chpkpa . 
He was then chiefly known as a journalist, at this time 
writing musical criticism for The World, and as a Fabian 
closely associated with Sidney Webb. Already he had ardent 
admirers, and ardent detractors. Roger Fry likened him to 
Christ. I couldn’t see the resemblance; but I admired Shaw 
for one thing especially — he did not wait until he was famous 
to behave like a great man. In fact, he had early singled him- 
self out from among his fellows as a remarkable character. 
He had all the ease and assurance, the endearing right- 
headedness and wrong-headedness, the over-weening out- 
spokenness, that English society recognises so generously, 
now that the whole world has acclaimed him. But he worked 
long and hard to be accepted in the position he so candidly 
assumed. He declared that he missed no opportunity of 


attending meetings and speaking in opposition to other Self-training 

speakers, no matter how little he knew of their subjects, of Shaw 

Thus, by these mental gymnastics, he fortified his natural 

gift of speech, and his mental alertness. D e Goncour t said that 

the artist was libertin d’ esprit et chaste de corps. Shaw was a 

wild man in public, violent, aggressive and paradoxical; in 

private he was the instinctive gentleman, ever on the side of 

the oppressed and unpopular, tender-hearted and generous, 

though he had little enough in those days to be generous 

with. He lived with his mother and sister in a flat in Fitzroy 

Square, fending, I imagine, for them as well as for himself. 

Although he assumed antagonism to art for art’s sake, and 
was more associated with Morris and Fabian ideas than with 
those of Whistler, he was very friendly with all of us, and 
lent his support to the more adventurous activities of the 
younger artists and writers. 

Not much older than Steer and Sickert, Shaw was consider- 
ably older than Beardsley, Max and myself. He was one of 
Max’s firmest supporters, and one of the first to realise 
Beardsley’s genius. To me he was genially encouraging; he 
was one of my earliest sitters, and I may claim to have been 
a staunch defender of Shaw at a time when people generally 
regarded him as little more than a crank or a charlatan. I have 
been amused at the belated acknowledgment of Shaw’s 
genius by men who, in the days of which I am writing, would 
not allow a word in his defence. It is not the rats who desert 
a sinking ship, but those who so sleekly invade the home- 
coming one, I object to so much. 

No man has shown less resentment at contempt and hos- 
tility than Shaw. He held his head high, and kept his temper 
and poured out his wit. Every gallant cause has had his 
support. Ideas were ever to him what the fox is to the 
hunter — to be pursued thorough bush, thorough briar, over 
hill, down dale, for the joy of the chase. I always felt that 
Shaw was more interested in the platonic or theoretical aspect 
of things, and of people, than in things and people them- 
selves. In my opinion he doesn’t see people or things as they 




Shaw hits out 

are; neither comeliness nor plainness is evident to his eyes; 
his eyes and ears are attentive to his own vision, to the sound 
of his own voice. If his vision is not often the artist’s, and 
if his talk is more like the boxer’s use of a punch-ball, who 
hits this way and that, to left and to right, upwards and 
down, than his bout with a living opponent, it keeps him, as 
the boxer is kept, in wonderful fettle. No step was lighter, 
eye fresher, nor tongue freer nor cleaner than Shaw’s. No 
decadence in him; he was a figure apart, brilliant, genial, 
wholesome, a great wit, a gallant foe and a staunch friend, 
a Swift without bitterness, sharer and castigator of the follies 
of mankind, whose cap though of Jaeger was worn as gaily 
as motley. I loved Shaw; he again was of those I could 
not imagine harbouring mean or ignoble thoughts; a true 
knight without fear and without reproach. Yet many men 
deemed him a cad, a vulgarian, a dangerous charlatan, while 
he went his way, head high, body alert, ready to spring at 
the sight of wrong, injustice or stupidity. His attacks on the 
first might have been overlooked; on the third they were 
unforgivable — the fellow was not only a busy-body but 

Shaw introduced me to Janet Achurch, the English inter- 
preter of Ibsen, whose photograph had impressed me so in 
Conder’s studio. She was somewhat more matronly than she 
appeared in his Australian days, but was an admirable actress. 
I saw her as Nora in The Doll’s House. We were all mes- 
merised by Ibsen in those days. Max wrote, many years later : 

In days of yore the Drama throve within our stormbound coasts, 
The Independent Theatre gave performances of ‘Ghosts’, 

Death and disease, disaster 
And darkness, were our joy. 

The fun flew fast and faster, 

When Ibsen was our master, 

And Grein was a bright Dutch boy, my boys, 

(chorus) and Grein was a bright Dutch boy. 

‘Death and disease, disaster.’ Shaw and Barrie were soon 
to drive these off the stage. Meanwhile they flourished 


vigorously at the Independent Theatre, to the satisfaction At the play 
of Shaw’s young ‘iron brows’ of both sexes. Ghosts was 
privately performed; Elizabeth Robins staged Little Eyolf. 

I wrote home after the first night : ‘ I went to the performance 
of Little Eyolf and amused myself as much with the audience 
as with the play.... I was in Mrs (J. R.) Green’s box part of 
the time, with Mrs, now of course Lady Poynter. Mrs Pat 
came up after the first act. Mrs Woods was there in a box 
with Lady Burne-Jones and Forbes-Robertson — Pinero came 
up to me and was very flattering about my Grafton portrait. 

...Miss Robins is probably going to take a theatre in the 
autumn and has asked me to be her art adviser, to manage 
the scenes, lighting, etc. and have the scenery painted under 
my direction.’ 

Gordon Craig must have trembled in his shoes ! 

In another letter home I wrote: ‘I went to the first night 
of Gossip, a bad play, but Mrs Langtry looked wondrous 
well and handsome. Zangwill’s play has been refused by all 
the London managers — it must be very bad for that.’ 

But much as I enjoyed these plays, I enjoyed no less what 
Shaw wrote about them each week. Shaw had recently left 
The World to become dramatic critic of The Saturday 
Review, then owned by Frank Harris. Harris had had an 
adventurous career, he began life as cow-boy, like Cunning- 
hame Graham. Later he married a. wealthy wife, wrote 
brilliant short stories, became a personality in London and 
gained influence through his ownership of The Fortnightly 
Review. He was a daring and enlightened Editor. After the 
Fortnightly he acquired The Saturday Review and gathered 
round him a dazzling group of writers: besides Bernard Shaw, 
there were D. S. MacColl, Churton Collins, Cunninghame 
Graham, J. F. Runciman and Max Beerbohm. Harris was 
a good talker, though as a talker he played what Wilde 
called ‘ the Rugby game ’. He had a rich, deep voice, which 
rose and swelled like an organ as he charged into the con- 
versation. With ample means, he was able to become a 
patron of art and literature. Alas ! our patrons in those days 

Forty years lack were not reliable supports. Young men complain to-day 
of their hardships, often with reason. The time between 
leaving the art school and setting up for oneself is a hard one, 
but at least there are many people to-day on the look-out 
for promising work. Forty years ago patrons were rare. We 
were poorly paid for our pictures; Steer complained that he 
had sold nothing for years, and though Sickert sold more, he 
got insignificant sums for his canvases. Sickert believed in 
selling at any price; he approved of the French system by 
which a dealer buys a number of works from the artist; even 
though this meant a trifling sum for a single work, by selling 
a quantity an artist was enabled at least to live. English 
dealers sold only on commission; so that until something 
was bought the artist got nothing. I remember Sickert 
telling how, when he was unusually hard up, he took a 
trunkful of his canvases over to Paris. To impress the 
dealers, he took a room in a good hotel, which, before he had 
disposed of something, he could ill afford. He was long in 
finding a purchaser, and directly he had been paid he had to 
settle his bill. Once he had money in his pocket he felt bound 
to leave his clean comfortable room in the excellent hotel and 
take the cheapest room he could find in a third-rate maison 
meublee! Steer had private means, and could afford to wait; 
I lived by my drawings; so did Shannon, who in fact had not 
yet begun to paint. 

Arnold Dolmetsch, among others, was hard put to it to 
earn a living. In spite of an unmusical soul, I used to go to 
Dolmetsch’s concerts at his little house in Bayley Street, off 
Tottenham Court Road, to watch him, his wife and daughter, 
playing on their lovely instruments. I did some lithographs 
of Dolmetsch playing the virginals, the lute and the viola 
d’amore. He had just made an exquisite clavicord, with a 
keyboard painted by Helen Coombe. Runciman brought 
Frank Harris to see it; Harris seemed really moved by its 
beauty. He boomed and bellowed enthusiasm, wanted at 
once to possess it, and hearing it had been specially com- 
missioned, he insisted that Dolmetsch should make a similar 



instrument for himself. When some months afterwards the A portrait 
clavicord was completed, Harris’ enthusiasm had cooled; for rejected 
a moment he wanted to get out of his bargain; then, in his im- 
pulsive, free-handed way, Harris gave the lovely instrument 
to Runciman. It was through Horne, I think, that George 
Moore met Dolmetsch; and from Dolmetsch he got the 
information he needed for the ‘ musical ’ parts of Evelyn Innes . 

To me, too, Harris talked as though he were going to be 
a marvellous patron. He sat for his portrait which, needless 
to say, he rejected — since, as he said, I had made him appear 
a truculent rascal. However, he bought three of my pastels : 
one of Shaw wearing a broad-brimmed hat, one of Alphonse 
Daudet, and another of Verlaine. 

Harris liked the look of my studio at Glebe Place, and he 
asked me down to Kingston, where he was then living, with 
a view to my re-arranging the interior there. He drove a 
very spirited horse every day to The Saturday Review office in 
Southampton Street, and as he was usually tired and nervous 
after his day’s work, he was glad to surrender the reins to me, 
whenever I went down to Kingston. I thoroughly enjoyed 
the excitement of driving through the traffic, and, once out of 
London, the peace of the lovely Kingston Vale. 

These were Harris’ days of prosperity, when he enter- 
tained lavishly, usually at the Cafe Royal. I remember 
especially a dinner he gave there at which Oscar Wilde, Max 
Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley, Robbie Ross and myself were 
present. Harris on this occasion monopolised the conversa- 
tion; even Wilde found it difficult to get a word in. He told 
us an endless story, obviously inspired by the £tui de Nacre , , 
while Oscar grew more and more restive; when at last it 
came to an end, Max said, e Now Frank, Anatole France 
would have spoiled that story.’ But Harris wasn’t thin- 
skinned ; he proceeded to tell us of all the great houses he 
frequented. This was more than Oscar could bear — ‘Yes, 
dear Frank,’ he exclaimed, c we believe you; you have dined 
in every house in London, once ’ — the only time I heard him 
say an unkind thing. 


Character of Another time, I was lunching with Max at the Cafe Royal, 
Frank Harris when Harris was sitting near with a lady friend. As we passed 
his table he called out, twisting his moustaches, ‘You’re 
getting older Will, I’m getting younger.’ ‘Well, Harris,’ 
I replied, ‘we can both do with it.’ 

If Harris’ rather truculent manner drew repartee, he had 
a geniality, a boisterous vigour, which won the loyalty of 
The Saturday circle. And Harris had a love for literature 
and audacious critical insight. His book on Shakespeare 
showed a true writer’s penetration ; Elder Conklin contains 
one of the best English short stories. But his itch to shock, 
to rummage in the rubbish heaps of men’s lives, prejudiced 
people against him. He wished us to believe himself the 
recipient of the most intimate confidence from Carlyle and 
others — astonishing confidences made to himself alone. Of 
his conquests among ladies, the more said about them, he 
thought, the better. 

We all live in glass houses; and stones, which lie every- 
where, are easily picked up. Yet not a few could tell tales 
of Harris’ bounty. 




W hile I was painting Cunninghame Graham he was 
planning a journey to Morocco and pressed me to go 
with him. As an inducement, he proposed returning through 
Spain. When, three years before, Friant offered to take me to 
Spain, I had fallen ill; but this time I was well, and I had just 
sold my painting of Porphyria ; so everything favoured my 
seeing the Prado, and seeing the world, under exceptional 

We went on a P. & O. boat from London to Gibraltar, 
making one of the roughest journeys on record. All our 
boats were carried away, and our cabins were swamped. 
Graham, a wretched sailor, was ill most of the time, but 
between whiles was amusing and cheerful. A handsome 
youth had introduced himself to me on board, a student from 
the Slade School, Gerard Chowne, who was going to Gib- 
raltar with his mother. I managed to join him on deck 
sometimes, watching the great seas. After such weather it 
was a relief to lie in quiet water outside Gibraltar, where we 
anchored till morning. The Rock looked magnificent under 
the stars, mysterious and grand in the solemn simplicity 
which night throws over the world. I was up by daylight, 
for this was my first taste of true foreign travel. With Chowne 
I explored the Rock thoroughly, delighting in the steep streets 
and the Spanish-looking houses in the rocky slopes, and the 
clinging bushes and trees. We hired horses; Chowne could 
ride, I couldn’t; but I managed to stick on my Rosinante, 


Chance to 
see Spain 

Arrival at bumping ungracefully, yet enj oying a first sight of the austere 
Tangier brown landscape of Spain, of a village with its empty bull- 
ring, and of Spanish peasants. 

From Gibraltar we took ship to Tangier, at which place, 
there being no harbour, we were met by a flotilla of small 
craft, manned by Moors, into one of which we jumped ; 
our luggage was thrown in after us, and we were rapidly 
rowed ashore. On the crowded quay sat a white-robed Cadi, 
with his attendants, at the customs; he let us pass with a 
grunt when Graham said something in Spanish, or perhaps 
in Arabic, of which he knew a few words. 

Tangier, in those days, was a truly Eastern city, and 
Morocco was still an undeveloped, unruly country, and per- 
haps the least explored of any near Europe. The market place 
looked like an illustration to the Arabian Nights', so did 
many of the streets, especially by night. We stayed at a hostel 
with the unromantic name of the New York Hotel, just out- 
side the town. From here the sweep of the town was very 
fine; I began a painting, but Graham was anxious to get to 
Wazan, if possible to Fez, though for foreigners, he said, to 
reach Fez was not easy. The reason was simple : if a European 
were robbed, or murdered, the Sultan levied a heavy fine on 
the district; irresponsible travellers were therefore not popular 
with the Sultan’s subjects. With the help, however, of Walter 
Harris, the well-informed Times correspondent, and of Bibi 
Carlton, an adventurous Levantine Englishman whose name 
was known throughout Morocco, we got permission to travel 
in the interior. Walter Harris lent us tents and everything 
else we needed, and with Carlton arranged our itinerary. We 
were supposed to take guards with us, but Graham would 
not. We set out with a cook, three other servants, four mules, 
and two donkeys to carry our baggage, which included two 
large sacks of Moorish silver; Graham had ahorse for himself, 
whilst I had a serviceable pony. I was nothing of a horseman, 
and some of the ground over which we travelled was fairly 
rough; but after a day or two I got used to the saddle. We 
were not heavily armed; Graham carried a large revolver; 


I had a shot-gun and a toy revolver. I fancied myself, riding Riding through 
with a gun slung over my shoulder; and when I discovered Morocco 
that my pony was so trained that I might safely shoot from 
the saddle, I felt like a Byronic corsair. 

We followed the coast till we came to an old Moorish 
fortress, where an old chief whom Harris knew had been 
living, so the old man told us himself, for 48 years. He 
wanted to know if England was still at war in the Crimea, 
and whether there was any war going on in Spain. He had 
heard that guns were so formidable now, he feared his little 
place might be blown up one of these days. He gave us some 
delicious bread to eat, baked between two hot stones, and 
we passed out of the old man’s sight, and came next to a 
small, squalid Moorish town full of Jews in black caps and 

Our first stopping place was Howara, a small village 
beside a vast lagoon. Our men were wonderfully quick in 
unpacking the mules, and in less than half an hour we were 
seated on gorgeous rugs in a large, airy tent, drinking green 
tea, impatiendy awaiting dinner. Never had I eaten with 
such appetite, and so little niceness. Direcdy afterwards we 
lay down on our mattresses and at once fell asleep. We were 
wakened at dawn; tent and baggage were packed, and we 
mounted our horses and were soon far ahead of die mules. 

We rode miles without meeting a soul, seeing nothing but 
foot-prints here and there in the sand; then there would come 
a procession of laden mules and men with long guns, either 
walking or riding; or else a messenger, with his bag of letters, 
would run by at a steady trot. They run thus for days, 

Graham said, eating only a few dried dates. 

At midday we reached Arzila; thence on to Sid-bu- 
Mereisch, a saint’s tomb on the coast at the foot of magni- 
ficent hills. We were all weary after a long day’s ride, and 
were soon stretched on our carpets. A party of villagers 
arrived and built a great fire and acted as watchmen through 
the night; there were marauders about, our men told us, and 
they were afraid for our horses. Our two tents at the foot 


Brandy before of the great hill, the sacred tomb, surrounded by wild olive 
breakfast trees, with the flickering light of our fire on its walls, looked 
beautiful in the night. 

The next day we reached El Arash, or Leratsche, as the 
Spaniards call it, an imposing place, with its square 'walls and 
mediaeval fortress, built by the Portuguese four hundred 
years before. 

From El Arash we pushed on to Alcazar, a small but in- 
teresting Moorish town, with its streets hung with matting 
from roof to roof, from which ivy and creepers grew — quite 
the filthiest place I had ever been in. 

At dawn came a Moor to our camp, who saluted, and said 
that his master, the British Consul, begged we would do him 
the honour of entering his house. The Consul turned out to 
be a Levantine Jew, and since Englishmen rarely came here, 
his duties lay lightly upon him. Now, however, we found 
his household in a state of feverish activity. We had not yet 
breakfasted, and when, after a great deal of talk, a bottle of 
brandy and tumblers were brought in by our host, Graham 
did his best to explain, I am sure in the politest Spanish, that 
while our host, who so well understood English ways, was 
kindness itself, we were both accustomed to drink our 
tumblers of brandy later on in the day, being men of eccentric 
habits. Leah, his wife, and Rebecca and Rachel his daughters, 
with their henna-haired handmaidens, observed the scene 
through the half-open door. 

At the next town lived the Governor of the district, to 
whom Bibi Carlton had announced our coming. We were 
invited at once to his residence, a typical Moorish building 
with a cool courtyard, and fountain. The Cadi, a handsome, 
white-bearded old man, received us courteously and with 
great dignity. A repast had been prepared — great bowls of 
rice and saffron, and chicken. This we ate with our fingers, 
sitting on the ground; and when green tea, with violets and 
mint leaves, had been brought, Graham paid the habitual 
compliments on the beauty of the apartment and the ex- 
cellence of the repast. In reply the Cadi shook his head sadly 


and said: ‘This is my prison. 5 The unfortunate man, we Moorish prisons 
heard later, had been Governor of Fez, when the Sultan had 
allowed him to extort what he would from the people, biding 
his time. When the treasury was full, the Cadi was seized, 
dragged with a rope round his neck through the streets and 
thrown into prison. There he stayed, chained and manacled, 
until he had declared where his wealth was hidden. Once 
possessed of the spoil, the blessed Descendant of the Prophet, 
as a sign of great mercy, gave him the governorship of this 
small town, perhaps, who knows, to pounce again when 
the hour should be ripe. Thus justice was done, wealth kept 
in check, extortion punished, and the Sultan’s coffers re- 

I saw more than one Moorish prison, all pitiful dens. It 
seemed incredible that such places should still exist. The first 
prison I saw was half underground, with a barred window 
opening on to the street. At thisopeningfilthyand miserable- 
looking men, ragged, verminous and half-starved, clamoured 
piteously for food. It was terrible to see human beings in 
such a state — one gave what one could, and hurried away in 
shame and horror. Some no doubt had committed crimes; 
but among them were many who were imprisoned, or so we 
were told, on no other ground than that of suspected wealth, 
whose whereabouts nevertheless they would not reveal. So 
harsh were the Sultan’s laws, that a traffic existed to sell 
European nationality to the wretched Moors. But some- 
times, it was whispered, the newly-acquired nationality was 
sold back to the Sultan again, and thus a rascally traffic was 
doubly enriched. 

Knowing the present state of Morocco under the French, 
it is difficult to realise how wild and disorderly a country it 
was forty years ago. At every village where we stopped for 
the night, the villagers turned out to guard us, lighting big 
fires round which they sat till daylight. This they did, not 
out of love for strangers, but for the reason already men- 
tioned, that if a traveller were robbed or suffered injury of 
any kind, the whole district was heavily fined. But while 


Dangerous they acted thus, they wished, we could see, to get rid of us 
ground quickly. We rewarded the villagers with a sheep or two, 
which we bought; these they roasted whole in true biblical 
fashion. In fact the whole Moroccan scene put me in mind 
of the Dalziel illustrated Bible, familiar to us as children. 

We rode through beautiful country, passing many of the 
Sultan’s orange gardens. Sometimes we would meet a party 
of mounted Moors, dignified-looking men with their long 
guns slung over their shoulders, their feet in short, heavy 
stirrups, looking with their hooded bernous very like the 
figures in Delacroix’ paintings. As a rule they rode silently 
by, too proud to show curiosity, to stare or look back; but 
once, outside a small town, we met with fierce and threatening 
looks from several parties of Arabs. I felt nervous; even 
Graham looked anxious. We found out afterwards that we 
had passed too near to a tomb that was held in great venera- 
tion, and this, seeing we were infidels, they resented. 

This winter of 1894 the rainfall was exceptionally heavy, 
and we were more than once held up by rivers so swollen 
that to cross them was, for a time, impracticable. There were 
no bridges, but usually we swam the fords, while we sat 
uneasily balanced on our animals’ backs. Only occasionally 
were there ferries. One day, when a party of Jews came 
down to a ferry to cross, there was a long and excited dispute 
■with the boatmen before the price was settled. But once in 
mid-stream the Moors threatened to throw the Jews into the 
water unless they doubled the price agreed on. The poor 
Jews were treated like dogs. 

Finally we reached a river where there was neither ford 
nor ferry; the current was so swollen and swift that to cross 
on horseback was unsafe. Parties of Moors were encamped 
along the banks, waiting patiently for the flood to subside. 
The Moors proved friendly enough, and to pass away the 
time gave exhibitions of riding and marksmanship, with their 
queer, long Moorish guns. Graham won their respect by 
lifting one of these guns over his head by the muzzle end, 
and then slowly lowering the gun and his arm in one line, till 





both were at right angles to his body — no mean feat. They Grahams 

were interested in Graham’s revolver; for firearms a Moor marksmanship 

would sell his soul; Graham, to impress them, had me throw 

oranges into the air, at which he shot. Not one of them did 

he hit, nor did it strike the innocent Moors that anyone 

aiming at a mark could fail to hit it. They grunted their 

approval each time Graham’s revolver went off, but they 

never thought of examining the oranges ! I think Graham 

was amused, as I was, at their simplicity. But praise is sweet, 

even when undeserved, and Graham enjoyed the prestige 

he got. 

But we had not the placid patience of the Moors; with the 
Spanish journey before us, we renounced the idea of reaching 
Wazan, since the swollen river showed no sign of abating, 
and turned towards Tangier. 

But I had thoroughly enjoyed our journey inland, and was 
now quite at home on a horse. No one walked in Tangier. 

Our servants were always at hand with our mounts, and we 
rode into the town, or along the seashore, with others we 
knew who were visiting Tangier: Mrs Alec Tweedie, the 
Duke of Fryas, Cecil Hunt the painter, Walter Harris and 
Bibi Carlton. 

One day, while I was riding after a pig-sticking party out- 
side the town, being somewhat late and hurried, my pony 
slipped on the rough stone cobbles, and threw me on to my 
head. The mentality of the Moor is a simple one. As I lay 
stunned and unconscious, the onlookers took me for dead, 
and sent word of my death to Graham, who was naturally 
upset. He had urged me to come out to Morocco, and now he 
must write to my parents and dispose of my corpse. Happily 
I recovered my senses, and was able to find my friends; and 
though I saw no pigs, I enjoyed riding about in the scrub, little 
the worse for my fall. Graham reminded me that the test of 
a horseman was not how he stuck to his mount, but how he 
feH off. 

One starry night, riding with Graham along the seashore, 
we passed Bibi Carlton. We stopped and talked, but Carlton 


English was clearly constrained; he was probably gun-running} 
adventurers Graham said. For Bibi had to live somehow; he was one on 
whom women loved to look; and though himself no liege of 
the Sultan, he was the father of many of the Sultan’s subjects. 
A rough, wild soul was Bibi’s, recking nothing of the ro- 
mance of the life he led. Careless of hardship and danger, 
illiterate, unpolished, yet with something simple and en- 
dearing, which won one’s respect and affection, he possessed 
as well a profound knowledge of the ways of the Moor. 

Walter Harris, too, was brave and adventurous, and had 
travelled all over the country. He was of that small distin- 
guished company of Englishmen who, while remaining as 
English in their manners and ways as though they had never 
left home, combined a love of courage and adventure with 
an innate understanding of, and sympathy for an alien people. 
But he was also a man of the world. Walking with me one 
rainy day, he drew my attention to a hole in his umbrella. 
‘A curious thing,’ he said, ‘I once stayed at a house where 
the Prince of Wales was staying, when his cigar fell into my 
umbrella and burnt that hole.’ Walter Harris had treasured 
that umbrella, it seemed, ever since. Harris lived outside 
the town, in a typical Moorish house, full of treasures. He 
and Carlton were known to every Moor in the land. Bibi 
Carlton knew their most hidden ways; Harris was more in 
touch with their political difficulties. 

Harris and Graham would sit for hours talking politics, 
and exchanging experiences; Harris rather dry and precise, 
Graham half cynic, half romantic, knowing men’s foibles, 
while forgiving them easily, aware of his own shortcomings 
as a son of Adam, but thanking God that Adam was not all 
Scotsman, but part Spaniard, like himself. 

When at last the weather allowed of our crossing to Spain 
I, too, was glad of Graham’s ancestry. For, arrived at Cadiz, 
Graham made friends with the first man he met, a dentist, 
who proved an admirable guide, and took us at once to the 
tobacco factory, where I made sketches of black-eyed girls, 
with flowers in their hair and shawls over their shoulders, 


and -with thickly powdered faces. Incidentally I noticed, Gaiety at 
when we left the factory, that people turned round and Cordova 
smiled — I wondered why; until Graham observed tha t my 
shoulders were white with powder, from the faces of the girls 
who had pressed round me while I was drawing. 

From Cadiz we went on to Cordova. Without knowing it 
we had chosen a fortunate time. The day we arrived the 
peasants were pouring into the town from the villages round, 
riding in on their mules, their women behind them. The 
squares and the streets as well were crowded with folk in 
old-fashioned Spanish costumes, most of them dating from 
the eighteenth century. Whether this was a local fete day or 
some special occasion, I don’t remember. In the evening the 
streets were lively with masqueraders, who made one think 
of Guardi and Longhi; later I saw how perfecdy Goya had 
rendered the soul of the Spanish people. 

No description could give an idea of the magnificence of 
the Great Mosque of Cordova, with its forest of pillars, its 
lovely proportions and exquisite carving, its courts and 
fountains, and even its beggars outside, who might have 
walked straight out of pictures by Velazquez or Ribera — 
ragged, sunburnt, veritable princes in rags, whose mien con- 
ferred honour on all who gave them alms. 

At Seville we saw more evidence of the splendour of the 
old Moorish civilisation than we had found in Morocco. 

There Graham had many friends, who took us to places 
where the toreadors and matadors meet, where we saw their 
chidas dancing, not in the regulation mantilla and bright 
swinging skirt, such as Carmencita wore, but in shabby old 
gowns, ill-made and ill-fitting. They looked heavy and dull 
to my eyes as they sat round the room, but the moment they 
rose to begin their dance, they shed their ennui in a flash 
and their dress was forgotten; never had I seen such dancing, 
beginning slowly and gracefully, getting more and more im- 
passioned, while the men shouted and took off hats and even 
coats in their excitement, and flung them at the feet of the 


Goyas paintings 

Sargent had told me at all costs to go to Toledo to see the 
great El Grecos there, but unfortunately the violent storms 
that had swept over Spain early that year had broken down 
the railway and we were unable to get to Toledo, to our 
great disappointment. 

Sargent told me also of Goya’s decorations: had I seen 
the El Grecos at Toledo I should have thought less of these. 
But Goya’s art was of the kind to dazzle a young painter. 
The two Majas at the Academy of San Fernando, the great 
painting of the Dos de Mayo , which had -so marked an in- 
fluence on Manet, the designs for the tapestries, the cupola 
and the wall paintings of the church of San Antonio — a 
church, I wrote at the time, more like a boudoir than like a 
shrine — the many portraits at the Prado : the range of Goya’s 
genius astonished me. In fact the only picture I copied in 
the Prado was Goya’s little painting of a mounted picador. 
At the Academy of San Fernando I acquired a copy of Goya’s 
Disasters of War , which I thought, and still think, to be one 
of the greatest series of etchings ever made. 

It seems strange that these were unknown during Goya’s 
life. For political reasons it would have been difficult for him 
to publish these etchings. No doubt the French would have 
objected. No one has ever done such daring pictures of war. 
The plates are conceived, and needled, with a terrible, a 
haunting energy, and they record, for all time, an artist’s 
indignant protest against the savagery of war. They are 
perhaps the finest figure compositions produced since Rem- 
brandt, only equalled by the four lithographs he did in his 
old age at Marseilles. 

Passing the window of a print shop in Madrid, a print of 
an 1830 Spanish dancer caught my eye: under it was written 
her name — Aurora la Cujini. The name took Graham’s 
fancy, and later he wrote an attractive 'imaginary portrait’ 
suggested by this print. 

I was sorry to leave Madrid, and to be leaving Spain; but 
now my money was spent, and therefore I had to return to 
England at once. 


Arriving in Paris one morning soon after, and buying a 
newspaper, the first thing therein that caught my eye was 
a large headline — something about Oscar Wilde. This was 
the first I knew of the libel action that Wilde had brought 
against the Marquis of Queensberry, which was to end in 
Wilde’s imprisonment. When I got back to London this 
matter was naturally the one topic of conversation. 

A friend of mine went more than once to the court while 
the case was going on. He told me that Carson, who had 
been with Wilde at Trinity College, Dublin, and had always 
disliked him, cross-examined Wilde with almost indecent 
brutality. Oscar Wilde, he said, was magnificent in his 
replies. Before his libel action came up for trial, many 
people hoped he would leave the country, as he did for a 
time, and spent a few weeks in Algeria. But wisely or un- 
wisely, who shall say? he preferred to face the charges made 
against him. When his Counsel, Sir Edward Clarke, threw up 
the case, what followed was inevitable. Though one had felt 
there was something insecure in his prosperity and fame, the 
end was no less tragic. Naturally the meanest people threw 
the largest stones. People who had been glad to know Oscar 
while he was successful, hastened to deny him when he was 
down. John Lane withdrew his books from circulation; 
George Alexander removed his name from the play bills of 
The Importance, of Being Earnest; the bailiffs took possession 
of his house; all his books, papers and effects were sold. 
I went to Tite Street on the day of the sale with the intention 
of buying some small thing (my voyage to Spain and 
Morocco had emptied my pocket) which I might sell later to 
benefit Wilde. The house was filled with a jostling crowd, 
most of whom had come out of curiosity; the rest were 
dealers, mostly local people, come to pick up bargains. And 
bargains there certainly were. Bundles of letters and masses 
of manuscripts, books, pictures and prints and bric-a-brac 
went for almost nothing. I bought a painting by Monticelli 
for eight pounds, which later I was able to sell to Colnaghi 
to help Wilde. 


Wilde’s downfall 




A new annual 


S oon after my return from Spain I found that Ricketts 
and Shannon were planning a new annual, The Pageant , 
of which Shannon was to be the artistic and Gleeson White 
the literary editor. The annual was to be published by Henry 
and Co., a firm in which J. T. Grein was a partner. Ricketts 
was to design the cover and to look after the lay-out; and 
besides all the great swells, several of us younger men, 
Conder, Max Beerbohm and myself, were to contribute. 

Shannon asked me to write to Whistler to induce him to 
give us a lithograph, and to Verlaine for a poem; Verlaine, he 
suggested, might write on Whistler’s Symphony in White ; 
I was to find out whether this would appeal to Whistler. 
Whistler, in his reply, wrote of his not being ‘prepared for 
this apotheosis at the hands of a great poet’, ‘but that a 
literary combination as between Editor and Bard has brought 
about a culmination of recognition that I might otherwise 
have gone from you without ever personally achieving’. 
Shannon was to have carte blanche in the matter of a litho- 
graph and I was to convey to Verlaine Whisder’s high sense 
of the distinction proposed— ‘In the mean time, your re- 
verence, adieu.’ But the poem was never written, why, I 
cannot now recollect. It was on Rossetti’s Monna Rosa 
that Verlaine finally wrote. I sent Verlaine a photograph of 
the Monna Rosa } and a description of the painting. Inci- 
dentally, in my letter to Verlaine, I made a slip which the 
poet repeated. In Rossetti’s painting there was a Chinese 



Apologies from. Press in * Troy type ’. That would be a Pageant indeed. Then 
Maeterlinck if he is getting his first number together, he could tell me 
whether a poem of 50 or 60 lines would be too long. I have 
one of that length which I should like to send. 

Is the Editorial Department a committee? or have you a 
thoroughly uncompromising tyrant who is prepared to go 
through with the bankruptcy business? Are you going to 
include music? If so I should wish to know who is your 
musical Editor. 

Awaiting further intelligence 
I am yours very truly, 


Shannon asked Conder for one of his beautiful paintings 
on silk, and he wanted me to do a portrait. He heard that 
Maeterlinck was coming over to London, and proposed I 
should draw him. Maeterlinck was the new hope of the 
theatre. I had seen the first performances of Les Aveugles and 
L’Intruse at a small theatre in Paris three or four years before 
— they had seemed strange and novel. I admired the plays no 
less when they were published. Other plays followed, and 
Maeterlinck became a European figure. Texeira de Mattos 
and Alfred Sutro introduced me to Maeterlinck at a reception 
which J. T. Grein gave in his honour, and a sitting was 
settled. The day he was to come to the studio I waited in 
vain. How often this has happened! He wrote to excuse 
himself some days later, after his return to Belgium. 

Cher Monsieur — 

Je suis absolument desole de ce qui est arrive. J’etais si 
fatigue, si malade, mercredi, que Mr Sutro, dont j’etais 1 ’hdte, 
m’avait engage a me [illegible] au feu, et a me mettre au lit, 
disant qu’il se chargerait de tout, qu’il vous aurait prevenu, 
m’aurait excuse, etc. J’etais done presque tranquille, et voila 
que rien n’a ete fait ! Vous avez du me maudire bien juste- 
ment, et je ne sais si j’ai le droit de demander pardon. 


First meeting 
with Miss 

At the reception to Maeterlinck I was introduced to a 
beautiful young actress, Miss Alice Kingsley (Miss Knewstub 
in private life), who was then playing Miss Ansell’s part with 
Miss Irene Vanbrugh, and with Toole, in Walker , London . 
I used to wait for Miss Kingsley at the stage door, to drive 
her home to Tufnell Park, where she lived; walking back 
the four or five miles to Chelsea. Admiring Miss Kingsley 
as I did, I was prepared to think her a gifted actress. But 
the stage was then one of the few careers open to women. 
Miss Kingsley’s father, John Knewstub, who had been ap- 
prenticed to some business, spent his evenings at the W orking 
Men’s College, where Rossetti taught drawing. When Knew- 
stub decided to throw up an occupation for which he cared 
not at all, to become an artist, Rossetti took him as a pupil. 
Knewstub later became Rossetti’s assistant, laying in the first 
stages, and painting duplicates of many of his paintings, both 
in oil and water-colour, which Rossetti himself signed and 
disposed of. Then Knewstub discovered a lady of rare 
beauty, who sat to him, and to Rossetti also. When Knewstub 
and she got married, the allowance he was getting from his 
famil y ceased, and Knewstub had to produce work for im- 
mediate sale. For a time he joined Madox Brown at Man- 
chester, helping him with his mural decorations ; but he found 
it more and more difficult to provide for an increasing family. 
Miss Kingsley, his eldest daughter, set to work at an early 
age to help, and when she went on the stage was able to send 
her two sisters to school. She was still giving as much as she 
could spare from her salary to help things at home. But 
I knew no thing of these difficulties at the time. Miss Kingsley 
herself might have walked out of a canvas by Rossetti. But 
when Bernard Shaw, in a review of a play in which Miss 


J’ai vu hier, a Bruxelles, Camille Maudair, qui m’a dit de 
vous tant de bien que cela vient encore augmenter ma con- 
fusion et mon regret. 

Essayez de me pardonner un peu. 


The Rossettis Kingsley had a part, wrote that she was perhaps better known 
through my drawings than for her gifts as an actress, her 
father was furious. Only when four years later Mr Knewstuh 
became my father-in-law, was I forgiven. 

Miss Kingsley introduced me to the Rossetti household at 
St Edmund’s Terrace, and I became warmly attached to the 
family. William Rossetti was the only one of the Pre- 
Raphaelites who was sympathetic towards the work of the 
younger writers and painters. He even thought that we 
youngsters were better draughtsmen and more skilful painters 
than was his brother. This, of course, was absurd; Rossetti’s 
early drawings are among the great drawings of the world, 
and none of us could approach their quality of closely knit 
design. When talking with me, William Rossetti would con- 
stantly say: ‘I am so glad to hear this from you. That was 
Gabriel’s opinion too.’ This was heartening and flattering, 
yet it made one feel humble and ashamed. But I was eager 
to hear all he could tell me about his brother, and of the old 
Pre-Raphaelite days. His house was full of paintings and 
drawings by Dante Gabriel and Ford Madox Brown. There 
was a portrait of himself painted by Legros, and he had 
countless small drawings by his brother put away in drawers, 
which he would bring out from time to time. He was 
formerly a Civil-Servant, but had now retired. While he was 
still in Government service, his children produced an anar- 
chist paper, The Torch , to which he contributed, and his 
house was a centre for anarchists and refugees from every 
comer of Europe. When he reached the age limit of service, 
his children hung out a red flag in celebration of their father’s 

If William Rossetti had a sweet and modest nature, he was 
by no means the ‘fool for a brother’ that Morris proclaimed 
him to be; on the contrary, he was an admirable critic of 
literature and art; he had kept his faith in the power of art 
bright and clean; and his outlook on life was broad and 
humane. He didn’t like the clatter the younger generation 
made in the press, and in the social world, so he lived in 


retirement. But to any who went to see him, he gave himself 

With Miss Kingsley, at Theodore Watts’ invitation, I 
paid my first visit to The Pines, Putney. Watts was a little, 
round, rosy, wrinkled man, with a moustache like a walrus, 
and a polished dewlap. He was dressed in a sort of grey 
flannel frock-coat, which I suppose he had hurriedly donned, 
since a shabbier coat lay on the sofa. As we came in, he rose 
to greet us. He was very welcoming. I was naturally 
interested to see the interior of The Pines. The room we 
were in had a fine large window looking on to a long, narrow 
garden, surrounded by ivy-grown walls. In the middle of 
the garden stood a small plaster statue, near which was an 
ugly iron and cane seat, painted yellow. Round the walls hung 
large drawings by Rossetti, mostly studies for the Pandora, 
stippled in chalk, and a splendid drawing of Mrs Morris, 
lying back, her hair spread luxuriantly about her head, her 
hands held up before her. There was also a drawing, in 
coloured chalk, of Watts himself. Besides these there was a 
portrait of Rossetti by Ford Madox Brown, obviously like, 
but a little thin and somewhat dirty in colour; and an ad- 
mirable self-portrait by Brown against a gold background; 
and there were several heads, charmingly painted, by 
Rnewstub — Miss Kingsley’s father; and a lovely little water- 
colour by Miss Siddall. 

‘Ah, I hear you know Whisder. Dear Jimmy,’ said Swin- 
burne’s companion; ‘how clever he is, indeed the most 
brilliant of men. I have known him intimately these 20 years. 
What genius ! Latterly, owing to his quarrelsome nature — 
though I myself have had no difference with him — still, 
owing to his misunderstanding with my friend, I have ceased 
to see him. But what a talker ! Is he doing well now? Some 
say yes, some no. Surely he was in the wrong over Sir 
William Eden. George Moore I am rather prejudiced against ; 
but of course I don’t know him, and I have not read his 
books. But I trust Jimmy always for being in the wrong, he 
loves a quarrel.’ 

Visit to 

Theodore Watts 


Watts passes I gently told Watts some of the facts of the Eden business. 

judgment ‘Yes, yes,’ he broke in, ‘but how foolish of Whistler, to 
challenge Moore. And so you have drawn Pater ! A curious 
man, whom I never quite understand. Swinburne of course 
invented him — took him round to see Rossetti, who disliked 
him extremely. Yes, a wonderful prose writer, a better one 
than Swinburne, to my mind. But will his work last? 
Baudelaire started l’ art pour Vart in France, then Swinburne 
trotted her round here, dropping her very soon, seeing there 
was nothing, after all, in her. Then Pater took the theory 
up — beautiful prose, yes, beautiful prose, but surely a little 
late; and will it last? The coup degrees was given to themove- 
ment by that harlequin Wilde. 5 Watts was not very kind to 
men who had had a youth since his own; he ended every 
criticism by saying ‘but will the movement last? 5 He even 
wanted to know if The Yellow Book would last. He seemed to 
think Beardsley represented all that was living in modern art. 
It was pleasant to hear him praise Theophile Gautier ‘up to 
the skies’. I wanted, of course, to hear him speak of his con- 
temporaries; he who had been intimate with Dante Gabriel 
Rossetti and was one of the last links which joined us to the 
most remarkable band of men of the century. Before we left, 
he told me he had made Swinburne, with great difficulty, pro- 
mise to sit to me — ‘ A rare thing for the poet to be gracious on 
that point ; we both dislike sitting, 5 he added, with a glance at 
his own portrait drawn 25 years earlier by Rossetti. 

I was amused at Watts, but did not take to him. He had 
a great reputation as a critic and as an authority on poetry. 
I remember, by the way, Oscar Wilde saying: ‘I have 
suddenly realised why Watts is an authority on the sonnet; 
the sonnet of course is made of six and eight. 5 Watts was, by 
profession, a solicitor ! He seemed to me absurdly vain, but 
he must have had great qualities to win the trust and friend- 
ship of Swinburne, and of Rossetti before him; and though 
I would not have called him a good talker, he was certainly 
an entertaining one. There was a good deal of malice in his 
talk — not unattractive to one of my age. 


Watts told me one thing that Whistler had never men- Whistler and 
tioned. In complaining of Whisder’s attack on Swinburne Swinburne 
in The Gentle Art , he said Whistler had pressed him to get 
Swinburne to write something about the Ten O’clock-, a re- 
view by the Bard, it appeared, would be a very good thing. 

Swinburne had needed a good deal of persuading, but at last 
had consented; hence the resentment of both Swinburne and 
Watts at Whistler’s subsequent onslaught. But Swinburne, 
for his part I think, missed the point and beauty of the Ten 
O’clock. Obviously from a man of Whisder’s character one 
would expect something in the nature of a testament, and 
no doubt he was deeply hurt at Swinburne’s failure to ap- 
preciate his exquisite ultimatum. Of course, if Watts’ state- 
ment was true, and it was at Whisder’s repeated request that 
Swinburne had reviewed his pamphlet, one can sympathise 
with Swinburne’s feelings at being held up to ridicule. But 
not even Swinburne himself, with all the magic and power 
of his pen, has written such noble prose, nor so perfect, as 
Whisder’s Ten O’clock. I marvel often that no portion of it 
has so far appeared in any anthology. Whisder’s writing, so 
biblical in some of its aspects, so finely chased, so elfish 
in others, seems to me to have a unique place in English 

After I had drawn Swinburne, Watts asked me to make 
a portrait of himself, and was very tiresome when sitting. 

He said that while drawing him Rossetti would consult his 
opinion, as I ought to do, and be guided by him. He was 
plainly afraid of a too realistic portrait, and his want of faith 
in my interpretation prevented my finishing the two drawings 
I began. 

I found, among some notes which I made in 1895, the 
following account of Swinburne: 

August 10th , 1895. 

Go to The Pines, Putney. Swinburne gets up as I enter, 
rather like Lionel Johnson in figure, the same chetif body, 
narrow shoulders and nervous twitch of the hands, which, 


Algernon however, are strong and fine. A much fresher face than I 
Charles would have imagined from hearsay, a fine nose, a tiny glazed 
Swinhurne green eye, and a curiously clear auburn moustache and a 
beard of a splendid red. How young he looks! notwith- 
standing his years. He was so nervous, that of course I was 
embarrassed, and Watts being there we both talked at him, 
keeping our eyes off one another. Occasionally I would 
glance at his profile, less impressive, less ‘like’ than his full 
face. When at last the sitting began, no sitter ever gave me 
so much trouble. For besides always changing his pose, he 
is so deaf, that he could not hear me ; and after sitting a short 
time, a nervous restlessness seized on him, which held him 
the whole time. I felt a beast sitting there torturing him. 
Nor did I feel that I could do anything worthy of him. When 
he saw the drawing he was kind enough to say ‘It must be 
like, for I see all my family in it. ’ While I was drawing he 
recited a burlesque of Nichols, The Flea , he called it, and 
he talked a good deal of recent criticism — a number of news- 
paper cuttings were strewn over a couch near the window. 
He speaks with the accent of an Oxford Don, and with a 
certain gaiety, with gracious and rather old-fashioned manners. 
He behaves charmingly to old Watts. He had on a new suit 
of clothes, as though specially for a portrait, which seemed 
to cause him as much discomfort as sitting still. He was like 
a schoolboy let out of school when I said I would not bother 
him any longer. He then showed me a number of his 
treasures — odd views of different scenes, an early Burne- 
Jones drawing, photographs of people, including a fine one 
of Rossetti. Watts suggested I should make a drawing of this 
for Swinburne, but Swinburne asked me if I could make one 
from a rather poor engraving of George Dyer, Charles 
Lamb’s friend, one of his heroes. And this of course I pro- 
mised to do. Swinburne talked violently against the French, 
saying he had lost all interest in them, since France had 
become a Republic, as they are always ready to fly at our 
throats and would crush us at any moment, if they could. 
He praised Baudelaire as a poet, and said he liked Meredith 


— as a man — the same thing that Leslie Stephen said of Indiscretions in 
Browning one day at Hyde Park Gate. print 

On my way home I went to the Vale, and showed the 
drawing to Ricketts and Shannon. To my surprise they were 
immensely pleased with it. They want to reproduce it at once 
in The Pageant. 

I made a second drawing of Swinburne, and he afterwards, 
when I lunched at The Pines, very charmingly asked me to 
make a small painting of him for his mother. I was proud 
and delighted, of course, and a first sitting was arranged. But 
how indiscretions come home to roost! An entirely un- 
expected thing was to come in the way. I happened to notice 
a review of the last volume of Edmond de Goncourt’s 
Journal. Being curious to read it, since it dealt with the years 
I had spent in Paris, I got the book, and there, to my horror, 
was a reference to me, together with an account of the 
Rossetti household I had light-heartedly given. For de 
Goncourt, I remembered, had asked me to tell him anything 
I could of the Pre-Raphaelites, of whom little was known in 
France. To me, people like Rossetti and Swinburne were 
immortals of whom one talked as one might speak of Keats or 
Shelley. But how easy and pleasant it is to repeat what one 
hears ! I had never imagined that tales told an old man by a 
youngster would one day be printed. I was very upset. The 
best thing, it seemed, was to draw Watts’ attention to the 
passagebefore someoneelse should do this, and to makea clean 
breast of the matter. I was to lunch at The Pines to discuss the 
portrait I spoke of, so when the day arrived and before going 
upstairs where Swinburne awaited us both, I showed the 
menacing passage to Watts in the hope that he was human 
enough to understand my dismay. Watts at once closed the 
door, read the paragraph, and said : ‘ This is the kind of thing 
that gets into die newspapers.’ He then suggested that I had 
better not lunch with Swinburne — I should have my lunch 
brought down to Watts’ room ! There was nothing to do 
but to leave the house. Dining that night with York Powell, 

23 * 

Swinburnes I told him of this ; he was most indignant; he declared he had 
death always thought Watts was a cad, now he knew it ! I never saw 
Watts again; nor Swinburne either, to my great regret. 
Later my wife continued to see them from time to time. 

I was away at the time of Swinburne’s death. My wife, 
when she heard he was ill, at once went up to The Pines, 
found him critically ill, and Watts-Dunton 1 in bed with 
influenza. On her next visit she was to find the poet on his 
bier. ‘He looked magnificent,’ she wrote. ‘So truly grand, 
lying there with his beautiful head on the pillow and a long, 
long sheet down the bed past his feet.’ Her one burning 
wish was to preserve something of this grandeur for others 
to see. A death mask, she felt, should be made. Watts- 
Dunton was still in bed, but she told his wife that she would 
go at once and get Epstein to come and do what was 
necessary. Epstein at once acquiesced ; but on reaching home, 
my wife found a telegram from Watts-Dunton, asking her 
not to arrange for a death mask. It appears that Watts- 
Dunton, who was a great respecter of reputations, disliked 
the idea of employing Epstein, then little known, but, on his 
doctor’s suggestion, had approached Drury instead, who 
made a cast of Swinburne’s head. I never understood pre- 
cisely what happened, but Mrs Watts-Dunton told us that 
when asked for the mask, Drury looked confused, and said 
that somehow the mould had got lost. This was some time 
later; he had moved meanwhile, when the mould was mis- 
laid; at any rate, it was never found. After Watts-Dunton’s 
death, his wife came to see us, when my wife recalled how 
she had wanted Epstein to make a death mask; a pity it was, 
she added, that no record of the kind was now in existence. 
By this time Epstein had made a great name, and when Mrs 
Watts-Dunton heard that her husband had rejected his 
services, she almost cried with vexation. 

1 Watts had assumed the name of Watts-Dunton in 1896. 




W hile for Sickert the music-hall was a workshop, for The Empire 
the rest of us it was a pleasant dissipation. The Em- Prome nad e 
pire Promenade was the orthodox place to go to. I remember 
meeting Le Gallienne there, just after he published his 
Religion of a Literary Man. He was a litde self-conscious at 
being found in this equivocal haunt, and explained he had 
rather be lying on his back in an orchard, looking up at the 
sky through blossoming trees. ‘ I know, I know, dear Dick/ 

I said; ‘that accounts for your oddly foreshortened view of 
God . 5 The Religion of a Literary Man infuriated Henley and 
Whibley, and the young men of The National Observer. Le 
Gallienne was their pet aversion. Later, their bete mire was 
Stephen Phillips, when Le Gallienne had gone to the States. 

At the Empire, or the Tivoli, or the Oxford, one would 
surely meet Arthur Symons, Ernest Dowson, Herbert Home, 

Selwyn Image, Beardsley, or Max, Poor Dowson was a 
tragic figure. While we others amused ourselves, playing 
with fireworks, Dowson meant deliberately to hurt himself. 

While for Beardsley, perversities were largely an attitude he 
adopted pour epater les bourgeois. I doubt if Dowson wanted 
to live; he was consumed by a weary hopelessness, and he 
drank, I thought, to be rid of an aspect of life too forlorn to 
be faced. He was deeply in love with a waitress at a little 
restaurant in Glasshouse Street, a decent, rather plain, 
commonplace girl, a Dulcinea in fact, quite unable to under- 
stand Dowson’s adoration, his morbid moods or his poetry. 


Gatherings at 
The Crown 

Dowson had a beautiful nature, too tender for the rough-and- 
tumble of the market place, and he punished and lacerated him- 
self, as it were, through excess. He and others used to meet after 
theatre hours at The Crown, a public-house in Charing Cross 
Road. To The Crown came regularly, besides those previously 
mentioned, Stewart Headlam, Texeira de Mattos, Norreys 
Connell, Edgar Jepson, Lionel Johnson, Oscar Wilde, 
George Moore and Charles Conder. We generally met in a 
little room, away from the bar, where we could talk. Hot 
port was the favourite drink. At 12.30, ‘Time, gentlemen, 
please!’ was called, and we continued conversing outside. 
Sometimes I would prevail on Dowson, who lived far away 
in Limehouse, to spend the night with me at Chelsea. There 
was a cabman’s shelter near Hyde Park Comer where one 
could get supper of a kind, hot tea or coffee and thick bread 
and butter. Dowson liked the warmth of the place and the 
rough company. It was not always easy to get him away 
when he was very drunk, nor past some poor street walker 
who would seize his arm, and try to inveigle him to her 

Arrived at my studio, he would usually refuse the spare 
bed, and insist instead on lying under an old-fashioned piano 
which stood in the sitting room. Yet I never knew either 
Dowson or Lionel Johnson, however intoxicated, lose their 
gentle good manners. While Dowson was homeless, miser- 
able and unkempt, Johnson appeared to lead the life of a 
scholar. He lived in pleasant rooms that were lined with 
books, near Lincoln’s Inn. In person he was scrupulously 
neat and his habits were quiet and studious. No one, not 
seeing him constantly, would have suspected his weakness; 
for a long time, indeed, I was unaware of it. His speech was 
the typical Oxford Don’s; a Roman Catholic, a follower of 
Newman, he had the polished manners and dialectic of an 
Oratorian. Stewart Headlam and Selwyn Image, likewise 
distinguished by their scholarly habits and the charm of their 
manners, had the good luck to be sober, as most of us had 
who frequented The Crown. 




Home, Symons under Sir Charles Robinson’s nose ! Many now important 
and George collections were largely made from Parsons’ portfolios. 

Moore Herbert Home, Arthur Symons and George Moore were 
then very friendly. Herbert Home lived in the Temple, at 
King’s Bench Walk, where Moore, too, had a flat, though he 
left it about this time to take a larger one in Victoria Street. 
Then Home came to live in Chelsea, whence he later mi- 
grated to Florence, to write his great biography of Botticelli, 
to which he gave up years of intensive research. Did not 
Reginald Turner say of him: ‘Dear Herbert Home! poring 
over Botticelli’s washing bills — and always a shirt missing 1’ 
I had no idea that Home was so wealthy. He bought and 
restored a Trecento Palace of the Burgess type, filled it with his 
collection of drawings, paintings, furniture, cutlery, pottery, 
etc., and finally bequeathed it to the city of his adoption. The 
* Musee Home’, locally pronounced ’Ome, is now one of the 
most popular but not least delightful sights of Florence. 

George Moore, it was often supposed, was associated with 
the decadents in literature, yet he had nothing in common 
with such, save an admiration for French literature and 
painting. In art his sympathies were with the New English 
Art Club. He had written one of the few remarkable books 
on modem painting which showed appreciation of the aims 
of Manet, Whistler, and the so-called Impressionists. He had 
known Manet personally — had indeed been painted by him. 
He would sometimes clinch an argument, when driven into 
a comer, by saying: ‘But I have known Manet’! Moore 
amused and puzzled me. I had heard much about him from 
Dujardin; Conder admired his Drama in Muslin. I had seen 
his Confessions of a Young Man on the bookstalls in Holy- 
well Street; it was supposed to be a very naughty book But 
I had read nothing of Moore’s until Steer lent me Modem 
Painters. Moore was respected as a writer, while as a man 
he was regarded with affectionate amusement by his friends. 
The Moore of to-day, the author of some of the best books 
of our time, the master of English prose narrative, was then 
unsuspected, save by a few. 


Although he was many years my senior, his character did George Moore’s 
not command unmixed respect from a youngster. There was candour 
no reticence in Moore, but a Rousseau-like candour, naked 
and unashamed. He had no pretence of dignity — that mantle 
Moore, even in his later years, has never assumed — but he 
had humility, the humility of the artist, mixed with an in- 
genuous egoism, which gave him a unique personality. His 
pastime was talking — ‘ O Rothenstein, I am so glad you have 
come, I can only think when I am talking.’ And talk he 
would, unceasingly, sometimes so admirably, that I would 
leave him with the affection that great intelligence invariably 
arouses in me; at other times he could be frankly silly. He 
would insist on his absence of moral and social sense, some- 
times amusingly, at other times in a wearisome way, and 
often, too, with an indiscretion that made me wonder how 
much was naivety and how much mechancete. He talked as 
he wrote, with a stress on his gallantries that was quite un- 
convincing. Were it otherwise, he would have compromised 
half the women he knew. But no one could have a subtler 
appreciation of his own absurdities than has Moore himself. 

What a discerning self-portrait he draws in Salve , Ave and 
Vale! and what a remarkable trilogy indeed 1 

He had one thing in common with Steer — as Steer was 
possessed by his brush, so was Moore by his pen. With a pen 
in his hand, Moore’s intelligence was uncanny; without it his 
hands looked limp and purposeless, his brows were lifted in 
vacant expectancy, his eyes without depth, his lips loose 
under the pale moustache. It was as though Moore’s pen 
supplied rectitude, tact and delicacy — virtues which were 
sometimes discarded when his pen was laid down. 

Moore wanted me to make a drawing of him for his next 
book: ‘I think I have arranged for Scott to give you a fiver 
for the right to reproduce the drawing. In that case you will, 

I suppose, give me the drawing,’ he wrote; but for some 
reason, now forgotten, the drawing was not used, and re- 
mained on my hands. Moore said of this drawing rather 
fatuously — ‘Now of whom do you think it reminds me?’ 

241 16 


Checks at I could think of no one like Moore. ‘ Don’t you see a like- 
a funeral ness to de Goncourt?’ he said. I couldn’t conceive of two 
men more unlike. 

He talked with enthusiasm of Pater’s prose, hut he ridi- 
culed Newman : 4 They call him a great stylist, hut his style is 
execrable.’ And he took up the Apologia , and began to 
read — ‘Did you ever hear anything more ridiculous? But 
the English don’t know what style is.’ Then he talked of 
Heloise’s letters to Abelard. He had just read them; ‘Last 
night, I dined with Mrs Craigie, and I talked about these 
letters; no woman has ever written me such letters, I said; 
could they be genuine?’ Moore’s candour stood his writing 
in good stead. He felt that what occurred "within himself 
was unique, and analysing his emotions with patient minute- 
ness he discovered what was true for others as well. I was 
finding so many painters to be decent men, but dishonour- 
able artists. Moore’s artistic probity was blameless. There 
was an innocence about Moore, too, that was comical — and 

He had lately been staying with Sir William Eden at 
Windlestone. During his visit Eden drove over to the funeral 
of one of his neighbours; ‘I thought I would join him, for 
the sake of the drive,’ said Moore, ‘And when we got to the 
church, as I was wearing a rather loud check country-suit, 
Eden said it wouldn’t do at all for me to come into the 
church, dressed as I was. But I got tired of waiting, so I 
strolled in, and sat by Eden; and, would you believe it? he 
was quite annoyed with me afterwards.’ 

But what he most liked was to talk about painting. Having 
known Manet and Degas, not to speak of Walter Sickert and 
Steer, he was familiar with the opinions of painters. But why 
should a writer wish to see like a painter? and to talk like one, 
too? Moore had attuned his mind and eye to one kind of 
painting; to great dramatic or imaginative art he was in- 
sensitive. I had rather he talked about literature. But to 
Steer and Tonks, who then preferred eighteenth-century and 
nineteenth-century painting to that of the earlier schools, 


Moore’s opinions were always acceptable. Not that Steer Steer, Tonks and 
minded much what Moore said; so long as Moore didn’t George Moore 
worry him with anything unexpected, and was happy talking, 

Steer would sit and listen, at his ease, his hands folded across 
his stomach, his feet closely drawn up under his chair. 

Tonks was to become closely associated with Moore. He 
had been a surgeon, but disliked operations, so he sat under 
Frederick Brown at Westminster. Finally he had the courage 
to give up his surgical work and to exchange a certain for an 
uncertain livelihood. He joined Dermod O’Brien and shared 
a house with him in Cheyne Row. He much relished the 
minor Pre-Raphaelites — especially Windus, Boyd Houghton, 

Pinwell and Frederick Walker, and the illustrators of the 
’sixties. I was amused at this tall, angular student with a 
grim face lined like Dante’s, drawing and painting pretty 
girls, dressed as they appeared in the vignettes of the ’sixties. 

His drawings were rather thin and tentative; but Tonks was 
modest and determined; and, like Moore, he was to do re- 
markable work later. 

Moore found in Steer and Tonks his most sympathetic 
listeners; in neither was there any intellectual nonsense; like 
Moore they laughed at my strange taste for Giotto and 
Millet, and the radier austere subjects that appealed to me 
didn’t attract Steer and Tonks. Nevertheless, close ties of 
sympathy and affection united us, and we met constantly, at 
one another’s studios, or at the Chelsea or the Hogarth Clubs, 
and often at Moore’s flat in Victoria Street. I was teased 
about my penchant for Ricketts and Shannon; Moore es- 
pecially railed against them; Sickert alone supported me. 

You never knew what Sickert would like or would not like. 

He did like Beardsley and admired his drawings, and the 
feeling was mutual. One of Beardsley’s rare oil paintings 
(now at the Tate) is a portrait of Sickert. Moore couldn’t 
abide Sargent; he was abusive whenever his name was men- 
tioned. It was one of his rare differences with Steer and 
Tonks. But he couldn’t let Sargent be. He was like a puppy 
worrying a rag doll. 

243 1 6-2 

Sargent’s In 1895 Charles Furse’s health broke down. He was sent 
appetite off by the doctors to South Africa; he might work there, 
they said, but not in England. And work there he did; at the 
same time his health rapidly improved. He knew that by 
remaining in the dry South African climate he could keep 
well, and at the same time paint Rhodes and the military and 
civil officials, and the wealthy financiers. But he couldn’t 
bear to be away from the centre of things, and he unwisely 
returned to England in the year following. He set to work 
at once; his studio was soon full of canvases in various 
stages of completion. We were all glad to have him among 
us again, though his health made us anxious. But he was as 
boisterous and courageous as ever, and appeared to have no 
misgivings. Sargent was painting Coventry Patmore and 
Ian Hamilton and Graham Robertson about now, three of 
his best portraits of men. He still came sometimes to lunch 
at the Chelsea Club, but complained that he couldn’t get 
enough to eat there. So he often went to the Hans Crescent 
Hotel, where, from a table d’hote luncheon of several courses, 
he could assuage his Gargantuan appetite. 

When Lane dropped Beardsley after the Wilde scandal, 
Beardsley at once found a patron in Smithers. Smithers was 
a bizarre and improbable figure — a rough Yorkshireman 
with a strong local accent and uncertain Ji s, the last man, one 
had thought, to be a Latin scholar and a disciple of M. le 
Marquis de Sade. Smithers had a bookshop in Bond Street, 
where he dealt in fine editions and in erotic art and letters. 
He was also an adventurous publisher, the publisher of The 
Savoy, and the first to issue a book of Max Beerbohm’s 
caricatures. He commissioned Conder to illustrate La Fille 
aux Yeux d Or. This was Conder’s favourite story. The 
subject appealed to him strongly, as did certain parts of 
Mademoiselle de Maupin. Smithers wanted me to mat-p a 
set of etchings for V oltaire’s La Pucelle . I prepared a number 
of drawings and worked on some plates — one of the draw- 
ings was published in the first number of The Savoy — but 
I disliked Smithers and his ways, and I withdrew from the 


contract. I thought Smithers had an evil influence on A fright for 
Beardsley, taking him to various night haunts, keeping him Conder 
up late into the night, which was bad, too, for Beardsley’s 

Smithers took as much work as he could from Beardsley. 

It is known that when Beardsley was dying he was filled 
with remorse at having been persuaded to supply Smithers 
with so many erotic drawings; he told me so when I last 
saw him in Paris, and how anxious he was that none of these 
should survive. 

I fancy that things in the end went ill with Smithers. What 
finally happened to him I could not discover. I afterwards 
tried to trace a portrait of Beardsley I made, which Smithers 
took in exchange for a complete set of Balzac’s works, but 
without success. 

In Smithers, Conder found a boon companion who en- 
couraged his worst excesses, excesses which brought on an 
attack of delirium tremens, which thoroughly frightened 
Conder. I sat up with him sometimes, for most of the night; 
he was in terror of being left alone. 

During this time, poor Oscar Wilde was in prison; we 
heard of him from time to time from Ross and from Ricketts, 
who visited him there, and told us of his shame and misery. 

Ross’ devotion to Wilde, then and thereafter, won general 
admiration; and this, when the strong repugnance to Wilde 
is taken into account, was a remarkable tribute to Ross’ 

Smithers, Symons, Beardsley, Dowson and Conder used 
often to run over to Dieppe. Dieppe, with its harbour and 
quays, its beautiful churches and dignified streets, had for 
long attracted artists. Like so many continental places, it 
kept much of its original character. It was one of Sickert’s 
favourite haunts; Thaulow had settled down with his family 
at Dieppe, and Jacques Blanche had a villa and spent most 
of the summer there. I remember Beardsley, Conder and 
Dowson starting off from The Crown one night, wandering 
about London, and taking the early boat-train to Dieppe 

Conder at 

•without any luggage — Beardsley and Dowson coming back 
a few days later looking the worse for wear. Conder stayed 
on. He made great friends with Thaulow and with Jacques 
Blanche. Thaulow, indeed, used to buy his pictures and 
commission him to paint silk hangings, dresses for his wife, 
and all sorts of odds and ends. Conder wrote and begged me 
to join him: 

My dear Will 

2 Rue de V Or anger 

Seine Inf™ 

14 Aug. 95 

I will send you over the picture soon that you want for 
Miss K. I do wish you’d come over; there could be no 
difficulty in Dieppe as far as I can see where one can do 
absolutely what one likes. The sea air has done me a world 
of good. Then Smithers is often here and sometimes as you 
may imagine my arguments are only weak from the want of 
backing up. For one can hardly expect sympathy from men 
who think so differently about many matters to ourselves. 
You can draw your own conclusions ; still Smithers is a good 
chap. I want to talk to you very much and can’t well come 
over to London — but for the present if you can’t do so — 
remember that even the unity of two might upset a kingdom 
(or a crown). I lay so much stress on this because Smithers 
tells me you wanted to do the * Fetes Galantes’ and had asked 
if you could ; so it might be with some irritation that you 
heard of my doing it. You yourself suggested it to me and 
I acted quite innocently; if it would give you any pleasure 
to do it. I wish I could get out of it now, there are lots of 
other things that one could do — mime trop. There is a lot 
one might do for Smithers ; it would be doing both ourselves 
and himself good, but at present I have found him hard to 
convince on the value of quality and limited editions. It’s 
darned difficult to write these things, but you follow, I know, 
and then I miss you very much Willy Rothenstein and you 
would simply love Dieppe. I have rooms opposite the church. 


an enormous gothic one — and a picture; saint at the door with Attractions of 
geraniums on his head in garland. There has been a whole a French resort 
new existence here a little spoilt perhaps sometimes — for one 
loves to tell these things to someone who will understand. 

The whole front of the sea is simply magnificent and 
reminds one of one’s comprehension of some past time in our 
own century — it’s lovely to see the famille bourgeoise again 
and finer still to see de Merode, the dancer at the opera and 
a dozen such. If you come over from Saturday to Monday 
its worth while and I will get you a room. I am sure you 
would not spend more than xo francs a day unless you want 
to. So try and manage. 

Smithers has made Aubrey Beardsley editor of the new 
publication; I suppose you know that. The first part of the 
‘ Fetes Galantes ’ is to come out in it — amusant, n’est-ce pas — 

I might tell all about this place here but the sea air leaves one 
rather idle; one likes to believe oneself hand and glove with 
all sorts of poignant emotions but this sea is like some drug 
that makes one satisfied with the desire. Life is so beautiful 
that one thinks it must end soon; and ambition only comes 
in and interferes and makes one want to do, for example — 
pictures of next spring illustrated with portraits. It is very 
likely I shall settle here, I like the place so well and fancy 
the winter months will be encouragingly dull and good for 
work — I can’t appeal to you now as a reasonable man, I 
know, but still the idea seems good. 

Blanche is here and is doing a really good picture of 
Thaulow and his family. He has asked me to do him a 
picture, so that I am quite pleased. 

I saw de Merode bathing this morning and wished I was 
King David, so pretty she was, and didn’t get too wet ; I stayed 
near her to stave off cramps and drowning, but she could only 
say, the darling, that J’ai peur ici des trous. My dear 
naughty naughty Will, how we would laugh here if you 
would only come — Arthur Symons has taken rooms in this 
house and he has just written a poem as to the Dieppe sea 
being like absinthe — original, n’est-ce pas? 

2 47 

Invitation to Ah dieu seigneur how I hate most men and like all women 
Dieppe (pretty ones). 

The distance from my room to the church is eight yards ; 
between is a stall of a fair and a pretty girl who plays Jeanne 
d’Arc. And is burnt and all some fifty times a day. But the 
church is glorious and all the priests when they have their 
best clothes on look like silk canary birds. 

Write me soon and come as soon as possible if only for 
a day; I want to talk to you. See Bevan and get my bill 
please, He might sell those pictures of Azavedo it would be 
the devil to pay. 

Yours affectionately, 


Another time, after he had gone over to Dieppe on the 
spur of the moment, with litde or no luggage: ‘I got tired 
of the Cafe Royal and the Gourmets and fancied a ragout in 
Dieppe to be near Vetheuil — “ces choses sentimental ar- 
rivent”. Dowson came over too ; we had some friends here 
and left today. I want you both to see that I have some things 
sent over as I brought insufficient linen and no paints etc. 
left the beautiful shawl behind, you might both go together 
and pack up these things. There are a pair of brown trousers 
I want in one of my drawers and all the collars and shirts 
etc you can find.. . .1 find it cheap here. Try a week and bring 
a plate over to do. 5 The plate refers, I think, to the Voltaire 
etchings Smithers had commissioned me to make. Conder 
writes again: ‘Blanche asks me to apologise for changing his 
mind about the picture he was to have sent to London; now 
he decides not to send it but to keep it for another year. 
When are we going to see you? I fancied always that you 
were coming, and hope you will manage it still. How is your 
work getting on — have you finished La Pucelle yet? I am 
hoping to see them soon. Beardsley it seems wrote to you 
yesterday about Blanche’s picture and now he would like you 
to choose a frame etc., but the picture can’t be varnished. 
Blanche hopes you will not have already taken any trouble 


tid is quite desole. He is going to exhibit it at the Salon first. A portrait 

think it will be one of the successes this year and wish you of Conder 

ould see it. Send over my portrait please to exhibit in the 

champs de Mars. It will be well placed and will be much 

letter placed than in London. You must not get into tempers 

dth my ancient self but come over to Dieppe and you shall 

leet all the youth and beauty of the decayed aristocracy of 

r rance. I have nearly finished La Fille aux Yeux d’ Or , but 

an’t get La Femme aux Cheveux d’ Or out of my head and 

o quelquefois je m’ennuie. You had better come and live 

>ver in Paris this year, I see clearly that I shall make my 

ortune. At the present moment I hav’nt a sou. I am writing 

r ou a short letter for there is no time. Dieppe is perfecdy 

leautiful and although the race people are gone — “ still many 

. garden by the river blows” in all acceptations of the word. 

There is a spare room in the house I live in. Send me a line 
is soon as possible.’ The portrait to which he refers was one 
painted of him in riding dress, which is now, to my 
•egret, in the Davis Collection at the Luxembourg Gallery 
n Paris. 

Meanwhile Conder continued working in Dieppe, and 
was constantly pressing me to join him; one of his draw- 
ngs for La Fille aux Yeux d’Or was reproduced in The 
Savoy, the new quarterly, to which he refers in his next 

* Will you tell me when I may expect to see you here. At 
present Symons and Beardsley and X are here but I hope 
they do not intend to remain. In fact I am almost sure they 
will be leaving tomorrow; X — who is too awful for words 
but very good hearted. He has decked himself out in a whole 
suit of French summer clothing from the Belle Jardiniere, and 
although it suits his particular style very well one is not 
exactly proud of his companionship. 

' Blanche has many friends here and is most desirous of 
making your acquaintance; he has introduced me to some of 
his friends, charming ladies who would be most interested 
to meet you. The Crown descended on us last Saturday, 


The Savoy augmented by two whores from the east, and did a great deal 
quarterly to shatter that pillar of respectability, myself. If you see a man 
wandering about Chelsea with an enormous wedding cake in 
the shape of a Bombay temple you will know that he is my 
uncle looking for me and I hope you will remember to be 
very kind to him. 

£ There has been a great deal of excitement about the new 
quarterly here and discussion. Beardsley is very pompous 
about it all. I wish you would come and stay with me in 
Paris this winter, but you might not mention that I am 
leaving London at present. The scheme is very interesting 
but I have no time to explain it to you now. I feel singularly 
happy to-day and am dodging X — . Excuse this very foolish 
letter and do come over soon. I should so much like to 
see you . 5 

The Savoy , the no wfamous quarterly, which Arthur Symons 
and Beardsley were then editing for Smithers, created a stir. It 
contained some of the best drawings Beardsley ever did, as 
well as 6 Under the Hill 5 , and ‘The Three Musicians 5 , and 
articles by Henry James and Bernard Shaw. I was amused to 
come across the following letter from Beardsley from Dieppe : 

Dear Billy, 

Do forgive me for behaving so rudely. I had meant to get 
back to town on Sunday, but missed the boat and so stopped 
on here indefinitely. 

Really Dieppe is quite sweet. It is the first time I have 
ever enjoyed a holiday. Petits Chevaux and everything most 
pretty and amusing. I shall leave at the end of the week. 
What about Gyp? Symons has written to Meredith to ask 
if he would sit to you for a portrait. Personally I think Gyp 
is much more desirable. Do bother Smithers about it. He 
comes over here on Friday en route to Paris, I fancy. How 
is the furnishing progressing? 




The idea of Gyp being preferable to Meredith tickled my Days at Dieppe 

I did go over and join Conder, and met Blanche and 
Thaulow. Thaulow was then at the height of his fame. A huge 
Norwegian, bearded, genial, a great trencherman, he dis- 
pensed hospitality to all and sundry. He was devoted to 
Conder, as was Mme Thaulow — a familiar figure through 
Blanche’s portrait of the Thaulow family. She too was a 
Norwegian giantess. I used to go bicycling with her on a 
tandem bicycle; she, dressed in bloomers, on the front seat, 
taking charge of the machine, making me feel smaller than 
ever, behind her handsome, redoubtable figure. 

Sickert was in Dieppe when I first went over, and he and 
I were full of irreverent jests. Blanche for a long time could 
not make me out ; I was always joking and laughing; though 
Sickert had told him, he said, that I was a very serious artist. 

Blanche was an admirer, and a warm supporter, of Sickert, 
buying his pictures, and praising his work to his French 
friends; but he used to complain that Walter was sometimes 
difficile. Blanche was painting a portrait of Sickert during 
my visit to Dieppe. I remember one morning, while Blanche 
was at work on this portrait of Sickert, he told me how 
difficult he found it to keep the transparency of his colours. 

I asked him had he ever tried glazing, but of this he knew 
nothing. Now it happens that Blanche lately gave this por- 
trait of Sickert to my son, and I find, after thirty years, that 
the flesh tones have that very transparency Blanche despaired 
of obtaining; delicate greys, too, have appeared, with which 
his palette had little or no concern. There is no doubt that 
white becomes transparent with time, and that much of the 
quality we admire in old paintings comes with age. Cezanne’s 
paintings, which Conder and I often saw at Vollard’s, looked 
different then, more opaque and cruder in colour than they 
appear to-day. The same thing applies to Monet’s and 
Pissarro’s paintings, and to Gauguin’s as well; these once 
looked startlingly different from older paintings, now they 
take their place harmoniously beside them. I have heard 
• 251 

The permanence Ricketts condemn the opaque paint -which the Impressionists 
of paint used, on the ground that its vitality was fleeting, and its 
quality too. But Ricketts is wrong; the great Impressionist 
pictures have become mellower with time, and thereby, like 
other good paintings, have acquired an added beauty and a 
mystery of handling, have gained, not lost, since they were 
painted. Paint alone is a permanent material; what is fatal to 
pictures is the impermanence of so many painters. 




O n returning to London, I thought it right to pay my Looking 
respects to my old Professor. I found him living in a Legros 
dullish house in Brook Green. Whether from want of success 
or ambition, or through indolence, he had for some time pro- 
duced little work. There was a discouraging atmosphere 
about him; nor by his own household was he treated with 
due respect, I thought; perhaps, now he had retired from the 
Slade, he had contributed little towards the household ex- 

Though I had never been a favourite of Legros’ during 
my year at the Slade School, my visits seemed to raise his 
spirits. He was glad of someone to talk to ; and I was eager 
to hear him speak of his early days, and to listen to his 
account of Delacroix and Ingres, of Baudelaire and Meryon, 
of Rossetti, Watts and Alfred Stevens. As a young man he 
had joined the crowd of students who followed Ingres round 
the Louvre. Once Ingres, he said, out of the comer of his 
eye, caught sight of Delacroix crossing one of the galleries. 

Turning quickly away and raising his head, he sniffed the air, 

‘ Hu, hu, $a sent le soufre ici.’ He told me an amusing story 
of his first meeting with Delacroix, at the house of a financier 
whose delight it was to entertain the young lions of art and 
literature. They came with flowing locks, flowing neckwear, 
fancy waistcoats, velvet coats, peg-topped trousers, habits 
raph y in feet every kind of sartorial extravagance. Suddenly 
there entered a figure attired in a quiet but extremely correct 


The professor’s frock-coat, wearing canary-coloured gloves. ‘ Quel poseur ! ’ 
tastes Legros heard from the outraged rapins. It was Eugene 

Legros was a vivid and copious talker. Had anyone 
written down his many stories, they would have made an 
interesting record ; hut in these there were significant lacunae. 
He had obstinate prejudices, and although he had been closely 
associated with the men who exhibited together at the Salon 
des Refuses, from most of them he had become estranged. 
For Courbet he still retained a certain respect; of Manet and 
Whistler he would never speak; nor would he hear anything 
good of the Impressionist painters. He had quarrelled with 
Fantin-Latour, and I observed a coolness when I spoke ad- 
miringly of Puvis de Chavannes. But when he spoke of the 
old masters, his views were markedly broad, and he had a 
profound knowledge of all the great schools of painting; 
indeed, I have never met anyone with a more catholic taste. 
Every school, and every artist, won his enthusiasm in turn, 
and he pored over the drawings in the Print Room of the 
British Museum, of Giotto, Mantegna, Signorelli, Michael 
Angelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Poussin, Claude 
and Ingres, and even delighted in the eighteenth-century 
draughtsmen, enjoying the espieglerie and the deftness of 
Fragonard, as he enjoyed the beauty of Watteau. He seemed 
to have had differences with many of his old pupils; Strang 
he never saw, though Strang never ceased to speak in high 
terms of Legros’ work. Only with Holroyd had he kept up 
dose relations. 

Because I spoke French and admired his own work, he 
could not see too much of me. He would often come to my 
studio, where sometimes his visits were inconvenient; for 
Legros was a little selfish, and would expect me to stop work 
|tnd go with him to the Print Room or to the National 
Gallery. When I had a nude model, he would be glad to join 
me (models I gathered were frowned on at home). In his 
Minting room at Brook Green, a dull room looking on to 
Backyard, hung the Femmes en Priere , which I had seen at 


the first exhibition of the New Gallery. No one had wanted A Legros for 
to buy it, he said, and he had not in fact sold any pictures for the Tate 
a long time. The price was, I thought, absurdly modest — 
fzoo. I approached some influential people, and an appeal 
was sent out. Watts at once sent £50. Lord Carlisle saw 
Burne-Jones and other old friends of Legros, the money was 
quickly subscribed, and Holroyd was delighted to have Les 
Femmes en Priere for the new Tate Gallery. 

Legros was charmed by Ricketts and Shannon, delighting 
in Ricketts 5 knowledge, and gready admiring Shannon’s 
painting. They treated Legros with marked consideration 
and, largely through their influence, a new interest was shown 
in his prints and drawings. 

I introduced Arthur Strong, then Librarian to the House 
of Lords and to the Duke of Devonshire, to Legros; he and 
Strong were delighted with one another. Strong took Legros 
to Chatsworth, to see the great collection by old masters 
there; and Legros made a gold-point drawing of the Duke. 

Later Strong got Legros to carry out a stone fountain for 
the Duke of Portland, which was executed by Lanteri under 
Legros 5 immediate direction. Lanteri had succeeded Dalou 
as Professor of Sculpture at South Kensington. I went to see 
him there once or twice with Legros, little thinking that 
some day I should be in charge of the school. ‘South 
Kensington 5 was in the ’nineties rather a term of reproach. 

Crane was later to try his hand at reforming the place, but 
after little more than a year he gave up the attempt — his 
difficulties with the Science and Art Department tried him 
too severely. The Department was full of Anglo-Indian 
officials, he said; I suppose he referred to Donnelly, with 
whom I first came in touch when an exhibition of litho- 
graphs was being arranged at South Kensington, when 
Shannon and I were members of the committee. This "was in 
1898 — the year when Crane was appointed. 

But to return to Legros. In addition to the fountain for 
the Duke of Portland, Legros was asked to carry out some 
important decorations for the City celebration of Queen 


Swinburne and Victoria’s Jubilee. Things at last began to go well with 
Baudelaire Legros. He sold his collection of drawings to Edmund 
Davis, and was able, for the first time, to put aside 

Legros told me that he had taken Swinburne’s French 
poems to show Baudelaire. Baudelaire, while he recognised 
Swinburne’s genius, declared that none but a Frenchman 
could write true French verse; yet when Swinburne sent him 
an appreciation in French of his Fleurs du Mai , he held this 
to be the most discerning study of his poetry. He sent it to 
his mother, and expressed his thanks in the warmest terms; 
but he inadvertendy put the letter to Swinburne into a 
drawer, where it lay until after his death. But messages did 
pass between the two poets, for I find Arthur Symons writing 
to me: ‘I saw an interesting Baudelaire relic to-night. I was 
dining at The Pines and Swinburne showed me his copy of 
the essay on Wagner’s Tannhauser, with an inscription in 
pencil “To Mr Algernon Charles Swinburne, en bon sou- 
venir”, and some more signed “ C. B.”’ 

Legros was an enthusiastic admirer of Alfred Stevens. He 
inspired MacColl to appeal for the completion of the Wel- 
lington Memorial in St Paul’s, from which the horse, an 
essential part of Stevens’ design, was omitted. It seems ex- 
traordinary to-day that the ecclesiastical authorities refused 
to sanction the effigy of a horse in a cathedral building. The 
mutilation of his original model had in fact broken Stevens’ 
heart. He seems to have been shamefully treated while 
working on the Wellington Memorial. According to Legros, 
Stevens, having spent the sum due to him before the 
memorial was finished, was refused access to his work by the 
cathedral authorities; whereupon the clay began to dry and 
crack. Stevens had to climb over the scaffolding and burgle, 
so to say, his owm work, in order to save it. Legros was also 
instrumental in getting a plaque placed on the house in which 
Stevens was born. He told me how, meeting Stevens, he, 
Legros, had expressed his admiration of Stevens’ work, and 
had said that he thought that Stevens was easily the greatest 


living artist. Stevens, Legros added, had accepted this tribute 
■with a modest but dignified awareness of its truth. 

Some of Legros’ animus against the Royal Academy was 
due to the Academy’s refusal to elect Stevens to the associate- 
ship, which, according to Legros, they objected to do for the 
reason that Stevens was living with a lady to whom he was 
not legally married. We went one day to see the house on 
Haverstock Hill where they had lived. It contained paintings 
and carvings from his hand, now, I fear, destroyed. 

Another house which many of us hoped might be pre- 
served was Sir James Thornhill’s in Dean Street, Soho, the 
walls of which were covered with enchanting paintings by 
Thornhill, assisted by Ricci and Hogarth. We made a strong 
appeal in the matter, which was disregarded. I felt then, as 
often since, that to spend large sums of money on paintings 
and objects of art to be added to the already crowded galleries 
and museums, and to neglect native art, or worse still, to 
allow it to be destroyed, as in the case of these two houses, 
is questionable policy. If we fail to acquire a painting by 
some great master, at least it will be preserved elsewhere, and 
not be lost; while such a treasure house as that of Thornhill 
has gone for ever. It irks me to think of it. 

Legros had hinted more than once that we might go 
together to see Burne-Jones, but had done nothing further. 
Then, one day in Regent Street, whom should we meet but 
the illustrious artist himself. Legros introduced me, and 
suggested our going to the Cafe Royal, nearby, for a talk. 
Burne-Jones gaily assented; and it amused me to sit in this 
place with these two grave ar fists; Burne-Jones saying that 
of course Rothenstein would order an absinthe. His face was 
no less spiritual than it appeared in Watts’ fine portrait, and 
in photographs I had seen. I was at once aware of his playful 
humour and charm. He and Legros had not met for a long 
time, and were pleased, I could see, to have encountered each 
other. I did later go to his house at North End Lane, a 
delightful place, surrounded by a large garden, its interior 
rich and simple at the same time, full of things Italian, of 


Meeting with 



The passing Morris furniture, and of his own pictures and studies. To 
of Guinevere enter his house was to go, as it were, from the open into the 
depth of a shady grove. There was something both rich and 
remote therein, which has struck me again and again, some- 
thing of which the Victorians alone had the secret. He had, 
in addition to his studio at North End, another studio behind 
St Paul’s School, where he was then at work on The Passing 
of Guinevere , an immense canvas. Out of love with modern 
life, Burne-Jones was projecting into this picture his last 
wistful vision of a world fashioned after the desire of his 
heart. My friends, with the exception of Ricketts and Shan- 
non, cared nothing for Burne-Jones. I, too, was aware of 
certain weaknesses; but no man who can draw and design so 
nobly and thereby impress his vision on the world is to be 
swept aside. Not that his reputation suffered from the dis- 
paragement of Whistler and the younger men; his name at 
this time stood for beauty itself. I thought him a great and 
enviable figure, for like Watts he had lived a life of incessant 
labour, had held aloof from the market place, yet had gained 
the homage of the greatest minds of his day. 

I had fixe privilege of visiting him two or three times, 
when his studio was full of graceful, aesthetic young women. 
Mrs Patrick Campbell, then at the height of her fame, was 
evidently a familiar; she had lately achieved sudden and 
dazzling recognition as Pauline Tanqueray in Pinero’s play. 
Very beautiful she was, with a rich beauty; her dark eyes, 
full lips, and heavy black hair, making her face look strangely 
pale. I met Mrs Campbell again at the Elchos at Stanway 
(one of the loveliest houses in England, I thought), where 
I drew her in pastel. The drawing was quite unworthy; but, 
in her high-handed way, she insisted on keeping it, and 
carried it up to her room. It was only by threatening to 
make her pay a gigantic sum for the drawing that I got it 
back and destroyed it. She had a beautiful daughter, Stella; 
Stella, and Cynthia, Lady Elcho’s daughter, a lovely pair of 
children, ran wild together like hares on the mountains, when 
they were not making sticky toffee in the playroom bam. 


Besides Burne-Jones and Watts, Holman Hunt was still Holman Hunt 
busy painting in the ’nineties, as were Arthur Hughes and embarrassed 
Frederick Shields; and there was Frederick Sandys, with 
whom Beardsley and I often sat at the Cafe Royal, a favourite 
haunt of Sandys. 

Holman Hunt was an impressive looking person, tall and 
bearded, like the Head of an Oxford College. I was pre- 
paring a new set of portrait drawings, and was keen to make 
one of Hunt. I had asked him whether he would give me 
some sittings, and he had consented. At his request I brought 
some of my drawings to show him. Of these he was very 
critical, pointing out inequalities in the features. All the time 
I felt a certain embarrassment on his part, and when I timidly 
reminded him why I had come, he explained that he had 
thought that I was a photographer, and did not realise I had 
meant to draw him. I was very much shocked. My belief 
was he had made enquiries and was told that I was an Im- 
pressionist. I knew that Holman Hunt was naturally a truth- 
ful man, and I felt ashamed that I had put him in a dilemma 
which prompted this deception. 

Holman Hunt had a queerly literal mind ; yet he was rarely 
inspired by the life about him. He would search the Bible 
for a subject, and when he had found one, he would turn to 
nature to aid him to paint it. Then he painted each object he 
needed with equal minuteness, figures, clothes and orna- 
ments, tables, chairs, hills, trees, grass, flowers, as though each 
separate thing had been brought him to copy. What could 
be more literal than to introduce in his Shadow of the Cross 
the actual crown and ornaments supposed to have been 
offered to Jesus by the Kings of the East, as though Christ 
would have kept these in his carpenter’s workshop! His 
Hireling Shepherd is a more convincing work; here we 
can easily believe the young woman is ready to dally with 
the handsome, red-haired rustic, while the sheep stray in the 
ripe corn. The Hireling Shepherd. , indeed, remains one of 
the great English pictures. 

The painter of this picture was a bigger man altogether 

259 *7-* 

Manchester than the gentle Arthur Hughes or the finicking, fanatical 
Town Hall Frederick Shields. Hughes, with his kindly, fresh-coloured 
face and white beard, was a benevolent survivor from the 
past; from his own past, too, for he had done nothing to 
equal his early painting. Shields was for long engaged in 
decorating Herbert Horne’s Chapel of Ease, near Marble 
Arch. I met Shields sometimes with Charles Rowley, who 
deemed him a great painter. Rowley was a Manchester 
picture-framer, who had sought out Morris in his youth, and, 
through Morris, had got to know Rossetti and Madox Brown. 
He ran a Brotherhood at Ancoats, a Manchester slum, and 
busied himself with the Manchester art school and art gallery. 
But he had one thing, above all, to his credit: through 
Rowley’s insistence the decorations in the Town Hall, 
illustrating the history of Manchester, were entrusted to 
Madox Brown. A Belgian firm of decorators was to have 
taken the work at £5 a foot, but the astute Rowley informed 
the committee that an English painter he knew of would do 
the work for the same terms ! In this haphazard way, these 
mural decorations, the most important, perhaps, in the 
country, were given to Ford Madox Brown. 

The date 1066, the first every English child learns, is a 
momentous one, for many reasons, in English history, one 
of these being that William the Conqueror, planning unity, 
was the first to weaken our local culture. It is true that long 
after that date great churches were built and decorated; but 
the decision to make London the centre of power was taken 
in the Conqueror’s time, and has been kept to this day. If 
London has gained thereby, other parts of the country have 
lost. In Madox Brown’s pictures, Manchester’s citizens can 
at least read the story of their city. Art students there might 
well begin by copying them, as the Florentines copied the 
Masaccios in the Brancacci Chapel. Thus a local school might 
grow up, and local artists be of service to their native town. 

Rowley asked me to talk about this at the Ancoats settle- 
ment in Manchester, where I read a paper, after which a 
young artist, Francis Dodd, came and introduced himself 


to me. My subject had stirred him, he said, and he poured A Manchester 
out his enthusiasms and his troubles. No one cared for the artist 
things he loved, or took any notice of what he was doing. 

I went to see him; he shared a studio with another Man- 
chester painter, Miss Dacre. His work was most promising, 
especially his pastels of Manchester people and street-scenes. 

Nevertheless, he could scarce earn a living. But when a few 
years later he settled in London, he did not have long to wait 
for success. 

Rowley understood nothing of Dodd’s outlook. Like so 
many of Morris’ disciples, he was blind to the beauty that 
is everywhere, even in Manchester. In his eyes Manchester 
was all ugliness, ugliness which could be redeemed only by 
Morris tapestries and Burne-Jones windows. I was all for 
encouraging local talent, believing that in this way local 
schools of painting might grow up here and there to arouse 
men’s interest in their everyday life and surroundings. To 
my mind artists alone understand the intrinsic beauties of 
line and design, and of colour; to try to educate ‘the people’ 
to a sense of beauty merely by showing them beautiful things, 
is, I hold, fruitless. At Oxford I had seen how little the Dons 
had learned from die buildings and works of art among 
which they lived. Whenever a portrait was to be added to a 
College Hall, they invariably chose the painter in vogue ; Holl 
or Herkomer, Herkomer or Holl, was the verdict every time a 
distinguished Oxonian was to be painted. I don’t remember 
seeing in an Oxford College Hall a portrait either by Watts 
or by Whistler. The theory, so dear to educationalists, that 
living among beautiful things gives to men an enlightened 
understanding of living beauty, has again and again proved 
false. This conviction grew upon me as time went on, and 
it was at Manchester that I first tried, in my lecture, to put it 
in words. 

I spent most of the summer of 1895 in France, painting 
landscapes and visiting old friends and old haunts in Paris. 

Whenever I was in Paris, I spent much time with my 
friends at Montmartre — Lautrec, Anquetin, Friant, Picard, 


J. K. Huy smarts Royer, Duvent. Friant’s kindness to me as a youngster I 
could never forget. 

During this visit in 1895 1 made a drawing of Huysmans, 
whom I had met before, at one of Edmond de Goncourt’s 
parties at the Grenier. Huysmans, a small, shrunken, nervous 
man, with a parchment skin — looking rather like a fonction- 
naire , I thought, with his bourgeois collar and tie, and pro- 
vincial clothes — was then at work on La Cathedrale. He 
had become absorbed by Catholicism — so absorbed, indeed, 
that he was soon to retire from the world. He smoked 
cigarettes one after the other, rolling them incessantly be- 
tween his quick, slender fingers, yellow with nicotine. He 
asked about George Moore, who was writing about nuns, 
he had heard, but wondered — for he said that when he last 
met Moore, Moore didn’t know a Poor Clare from a Sister 
of Charity. 

Going to see Degas, I took some drawings with me, as he 
had asked to see them. I found a visitor with him, and as 
Degas looked at my drawings, this stranger glanced at them 
too. Before he left, he turned to me and asked me to come 
and see him. ‘M. Fantin-Latour,’ said Degas, in explanation. 
Fantin-Latour, of course ! I thought his face seemed familiar. 
I should have known him through his self-portraits. 

I found Fantin in a modest studio, in the rue des Beaux 
Arts. The studio walls were covered with canvases, mosdy 
unframed ; these were flower and still-life studies, small nudes, 
interiors, several self-portraits at different ages, many studies 
and copies after the old masters, including a superb copy of the 
Marriage at Cana by Paul Veronese, and two large paintings — 
the Hommage a Delacroix and a portrait of two ladies — his 
wife and sister-in-law, I found out later. 

Fantin lived quietly with his wife, seeing scarcely anyone, 
occupied with his painting, or pottering over prints and 
drawings, or else going to the Louvre, where he had passed 
so much of his life, copying. Everything about him was 
simple and unpretentious: a few commonplace chairs, a 
sofa, a small table, and many shabby, ample portfolios ranged 


against the walls. Here was just such a studio as Daumier Fantin-Latour 

drew and painted. And Fantin himself, stout, baggily 

dressed, with list slippers on his feet and a green shade over 

his eyes, looked like one of Daumier’s artists. His talk was 

quiet and unpretentious; there were no fireworks nor sharp 

wit, as with Whisder or Degas, yet what he said was wise 

and to the point. I wish I had made notes of his talk; it 

would have been worth while; for he probably knew more 

about methods of painting than any other artist living. And 

he had been associated with, and had painted, the most gifted 

men of his time, Manet and Baudelaire — and how many 

others ! In spite of his remarkable portrait compositions, one 

of which, hanging in the Luxembourg, had long been 

familiar — no one, he said, ever asked him to paint a portrait. 

But for his friend, Mrs Edwin Edwards, he had scarcely been 
able to continue painting; through Mrs Edwards he sold 
many of his flower pieces to English collectors, and this 
made him feel very friendly towards England. He had a high 
opinion of Millais — of his earlier work especially. Fantin had 
been one of the pioneers of modem painting, but though he 
knew his own paintings were out of fashion, I never heard 
him complain. When Degas and others acquired his Hommage 
a Delacroix , and offered it to the Louvre, Fantin was quietly 
pleased. He knew the world and its vanities too well to be 

What pleased me most was that Fantin, being a middle- 
class Frenchman, painted middle-class life. He was of the 
company of Chardin, Daumier and Cezanne. In the por- 
traits he painted there were no Coromandel screens or 
Louis XV settees; they were of ordinary men and women 
sitting in the rooms where they lived. So in his still-life 
paintings, the bottles of wine, the bread, fruit and knives on 
the rough linen table cloths, were usual on any French 
bourgeois table. 

Fantin’s studio always gave me a sense of rest and security ; 
and his active encouragement of my own efforts (he actu- 
ally offered to sit to me, although he said he had never before 


Verlaine’s been model to anyone save himself) was generous and 
birthday heartening. 

I always went to see Verlaine as often as I could. He was 
obviously far from well, and looked terribly yellow. He was 
still living with Eugenie Krantz in a single room — a little 
tidier, I think, than when I last saw them. One day I arrived 
to find he had gilded all the chairs with cheap bronze paint, and 
was childishly delighted with the effect. ‘That is how a poet 
should live,’ he said, * with golden furniture,’ and he laughed, 
half childishly, half cynically. No one ever seemed to visit 
him; at least I never met any of his old associates there. 
Only Cazals was faithful still. As usual Verlaine was in need 
of money. He complained, whenever Eugenie was out of 
the room, that she still robbed him of everything. I had 
been doing my best to get people in London to publish his 
poems. Heinemann was very good, taking several for The 
New Review , and paying for them generously. Frank Harris, 
too, had published some of his poems in The Fortnightly 
Review. Verlaine complained that these were not always paid 
for, but this Harris emphatically denied. 

In a few days, Verlaine told me, he would be fifty years 
old. I said we must celebrate the occasion; but the state of 
Verlaine’s leg did not allow of his going out. I spoke to 
Eugenie and arranged for a little birthday party in Verlaine’s 
room. She was to get food sent up from a neighbouring 
restaurant. Ray Lankaster, who was on a visit to Paris, 
wanted to meet Verlaine, and I suggested his coming to 
the birthday party. We arrived punctually, Ray Lankaster 
carrying a large bouquet of flowers in which a choice 
bottle of wine was concealed. Eugenie was as amiable as she 
knew how, though her standard of charm was not a high 
one; she had an uncomfortable way of fawning on people 
whom she thought might be useful. The flowers plus the 
wine pleased Verlaine’s fancy; he was in the best of spirits 
during lunch. But the next time I saw him he was depressed 
and full of misgivings, ‘Restez sage,’ he said to me, ‘take 
warning from me,’ and as he leaned out of the window and 


looked down on the people in the street below, he envied End of Verlaine 
them, saying they were happy; they could still walk. He 
spoke feelingly of Francois Coppee and Mallarme, as the two 
friends who had always been true to him. 

I found saying goodbye a painful business. I did not 
expect to see him again, and when I spoke with enforced 
cheerfulness of coming to see him when I returned to Paris, 

I felt that he too knew what was in my mind. The day after 
I left he sent me a note with a poem, Anniversaire , describing 
our birthday party. I was touched at his writing and dedi- 
cating a poem to me, the more so since I had promised to 
make him a drawing of the interior of Barnard’s Inn (a 
drawing he had asked for more than once) to remind him of 
his last visit to London, a promise I was not able to carry out. 

My forebodings were only too true. A few weeks after- 
wards I got a letter from Eugenie Krantz to tell me Verlaine 
was dead. She added that he had kept a reproduction of one 
of my drawings hung over the bed on which he died. I wrote 
to enquire for further details, and received the following 
characteristic letter, the last, I think, I had from Eugenie. 

‘Monsieur, j’ai eu beaucoup de chagrin de ne pas savoir 
votre addresse et celles de vos amis, car je vous aurai (sic) 
ecris plutot pour vous apprendre la mort de ce pauvre 
Monsieur Paul Verlaine. 

‘ Je vous remerde de vous occuper de moi. 

‘ Vous me demandez si l’on doit a Monsieur Paul Verlaine 
en Angleterre; oui monsieur on lui doit encore 250 francs 
que je serais bien heureuse d’avoir car je suis reste sans un 
sou. Adieu monsieur Will Rothenstein veuillez accepter 
l’assurance de ma cordialete sympathic (sic) 

eugInie krantz’ 

Ugly and sordid as much of Verlaine’s life had been, there 
was something deeply endearing in his nature, something 
rhildlike and natural, which touched one’s heart. His figure 
remains, after 35 years, one of the most vivid among those 
that my memory evokes from a shadowy past. 



in London 



W histler was still living in Paris, but he often came 
over to London, staying at Garland’s Hotel. He went 
occasionally to the Chelsea Club. There, one evening, I 
found Whistler dining with Pennell. Whistler made me sit 
down next him, saying, * My dear Parson, I can’t play second 
fiddle to anyone, so I could not reply to your amusing 
letters.’ He was very charming and lively, but Pennell was 
sulkily hostile. Talking of Trilby , which had lately been 
published, Whistler said that Du Maurier’s manuscript had 
actually been sent to him, that he might delete anything he 
considered offensive to himself. He was in London, he said, 
about lithographs and law. 

Whistler had taken a great fancy to Macmonnies; and he 
talked much in praise of Forain. He was to paint Alphonse 
Daudet’s little girl ; and he spoke about one of the Boston 
decorations, which he had been asked to undertake, as he 
wished. Speaking of Edmond de Goncourt, he said: ‘The 
man who keeps a journal always ends in the dock.’ 

When Whistler was talking of someone to whom he had 
given letters of introduction, Pennell said pointedly, ‘They 
all start that way, whether they have them or not.’ I was 
angry, and I assured Pennell I had been received in London 
with open arms, because people knew I was not one of his 
friends. Whistler laughed and calmed Pennell down. 

I didn’t really dislike Pennell ; but he showed such hos- 
tility to me that I was forced into an aggressive attitude 


towards him. He was an uncritical worshipper of Whistler, ‘ The followers’ 

resentful of sharing Whistler’s friendship with people who 

showed independence. In his life of Whistler, a life which 

is full of interesting matter, and which gives a very vivid 

presentment of the man, he speaks with small respect of those 

whom he calls ‘the followers’; yet what was he himself but 

one of the most sycophantic of these? He says truly that 

Whistler was not really so quarrelsome as people thought, 

or as Whistler himself would have them believe. It was 

people like Pennell who played on Whisder’s vanity, and 

prejudiced him against certain people. Pennell, for instance, 

was interested in the International Exhibition; therefore the 

people connected with the International Exhibition must be 

shown in the most agreeable light. 

No one adored Whistler more than myself, but the gross 
flattery offered him by men who could keep his friendship 
only by compromising their own dignity, revolted me. After 
the decline of the Grosvenor Gallery, the most important 
independent movement in England was obviously that of 
the New English Art Club. Pennell goes out of his way to 
speak maliciously of everyone connected with the Club. No 
artists were more stalwart supporters of Whisder than Walter 
Sickert, Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks, William Nicholson 
(who by the way was never a member of the New English 
Art Cliff)) and Charles Conder. One of his strongest cham- 
pions in the press was D. S. MacCoU; yet Pennell suggests 
that MacColl was only a luke-warm supporter of Whisder, 
for no other reason than that Whisder had once or twice 
exhibited at the New English Art Club. This is a gross 
libel on MacColl’s attitude to Whisder’s art throughout his 
career as a critic. Sickert, during many years of his life, was 
Whisder’s most intimate and ardent friend. Steer, whose 
nature was never demonstrative, had the highest opinion of 
Whisder’s work But Whisder required from his friends not 
only loyalty and admiration, but exclusive loyalty and ad- 
miration. This was asking too much of high-spirited youth, 
for the generosity of youth is unlimited. Whistler could 


Max Beerlohm absorb all the devotion and admiration, even flattery, •which 
again were given him ; but like most people he would not look too 
closely into the work of his admirers. He was unlikely to be 
over critical so long as he had their homage; but the Pennells 
did scant justice to Whistler’s fine critical acumen, in taking 
so seriously his pleasant ways with his worshippers; for 
Whistler knew perfectly well who were artists to be reckoned 
with, and who were not. 

Max Beerbohm used to tease me about my admiration for 
Whistler. He wrote from Folkestone, where he was staying 
with an old Oxford friend: 

West Cliff Hotel , 


My dear Will, SaBai °*' 

Here I am, as you see by the royal devices under which 
I write, ensconced at merry Folkestone. Firminger is with 
me by the way and I find him a very nice camarade de 
voyage — very sympathetic and so forth. 

It is at present in the off-season, and how charming in its 
contrast to London with her streets packed with faces and 
her pavements covered with feet! And how nice to be in a 
town where the season is just about to commence: charming 
in its expectant emptiness and not unreminiscent of Hardy’s 
sweet distinction between the light — the twilight — of dawn 
and of sunset: ‘The degree of light is equal exactly, it may 
be, at both times: but at dawn the bright element is active 
and the shadow passive and quiescent’ : so here in the middle 
of July there is none of the dreadful depression of spirits 
which falls as one watches the boats and the trains full of 
departing figures and the emptying streets and the houses as 
they grow blank. Good God, I write as though I have 
developed a sense of beauty or sentiment or something 
equally inappropriate to a modern (or modd’n) letter. Are 
you working? Are you, in my charming phrase, staining the 
hair of a camel in gaudy chemicals and wiping them off on 
a bit of coarse canvas? Or have you given up that kind of 


thing? Talking of painters, by the way, I was taken to see 
a man — a nouveau riche named Crofter — the other day: he 
shewed me some chalk sketches by Whistler — nude women 
drawn in rough and short strokes — which I really found 
rather charming. I began to think that perhaps you were 
right in your idolatry and that the man really does possess 
a touch of genius. 

My admiration for Whistler has never changed. He was 
without doubt one of the remarkable artists of the nineteenth 
century, and one of its great personalities. His faults were 
obvious; among them was his habit of judging people in 
relation to himself. But his character was a whole and 
rounded one, and one accepted it, and still accepts it, as 
unique and legitimate — legitimate for the reason that he 
made of his life a unity. When he attacked this man or that, 
it was largely because he stood in the way of his own re- 
flection. His life was to be, as it were, a perfect self-portrait. 
The Pennells were blind to Whistler’s human fallibility, 
blind to qualities outside Whistler’s compass. One of the 
most touching letters Whistler wrote was a letter to Fantin- 
Latour in which he regrets that he couldn’t draw with the 
precision of Ingres. Absurd modesty! say the Pennells, 
Whistler drew much better ! 

Besides Whistler, various Paris friends came over to 
London, among them Anquetin, Lautrec and Stuart Merrill. 
Poor Stuart Merrill ! How bored he was in London ! He did 
not stay long, but went off to Brighton, from where he wrote : 

‘ J’ai beaucoup regrette de ne t’avoir pas vu une demiere 
fois avant ton depart de Londres. J’ai un projet interessant 
a t’exposer : il est vrai que j’invente au moins dix projets par 

‘ Je m’embete ici, malgre un Empire et un Alhambra, oh je 
m’abrutis consciencieusement chaque nuit. La Mer fait un 
brouhaha ridicule, le vent souffle toujours, et les gens ont les 
binettes de croquemorts. 

Homage to 


The Baronet * Et puis zut ! Ma plume ecrit mal et je te dis au revoir. Je 
and the serai sans doute de retour a Londres mardi ou mercredi, puis 
Butterfly je filerai vers mon cher Paris. 

* J’aurai done peut-etre la chance de te revoir. 

A hient6t, ton stuart Merrill* 

What the project was I never discovered. Anquetin, too, 
had some plan. He had come to London ‘pour la representa- 
tion de Henri VIII de Saint-Saens but was recalled suddenly 
to Paris for the sale of one of his big decorations. * Je suis 
desole du contretemps qui me prive d’un travail que j’aurais 
eu plaisir a enlever en votre compagnie.’ 

Sir William Eden was another amateur, besides Brabazon, 

. who used to send to the New English Art Club. His water- 

colours were much inferior to Brabazon’s, yet he was not 
without some talent, and since he was a patron of Steer and 
Sickert and other members of the New English Art Club, the 
jury was perhaps indulgent in judging his work. Eden had 
treated Whistler very meanly over a portrait of his wife. A 
quarrel ensued which assumed, as did allhis quarrels, too much 
importance in Whistler’s life. For a time everything centred 
round it, and it resulted in the well-known Baronet & the 
Butterfly. Hearing that a drawing by Eden had been ac- 
cepted by the jury of the New English Art Club, Whistler 
went down to the Chelsea Club and said disagreeable things 
about me, for I was one of the jury; and all he said was of 
course repeated, probably with additions, when I next went 
into the Club. I was rather upset at what I was told, and a 
little annoyed that Whistler should discuss my affairs before 
the gossips and fossils of a club which, incidentally, was my 
club as well as his; he knew too there were many there who 
were glad to hear anything against the New English element. 
I was rash enough to write complaining of this to Whistler. 
Of course, I was no match for him. He pounced on me at 

‘ I have ever admired your neat hand with the foil, ’ I wrote, 
‘but when in the other hand you brandish a scythe, with 


intent to lop off my legs when my eyes are on your button 
— no!' He promptly retorted: ‘That is it Rothenstein. You 
keep your eye on the button, I’ll do the rest ! ’ And in sub- 
sequent letters he remarks on my having ‘the toad in the 
belly’. I had a genuine enough grievance; but my letters 
were foolish, and I deserved these sound raps on my 
knuckles. Having administered them, Whistler seems to 
have relented; for I find friendly letters following. 


Whistler’s retort 


Max‘ enfamitte' 


T he Beerbohms were then living at 19 Hyde Park Place, 
one of a row of late eighteenth, or early nineteenth-cen- 
tury houses, which has since been pulled down. Their home 
became the most familiar to me of all London houses, and the 
drawing room upstairs, with its bright chintz curtains and 
chintz-covered chairs, its little tables littered with silver nick- 
nacks, its oval portraits of Max’s grandparents in eighteenth- 
century dress — I marvelled that anyone’s grandparents could 
have flourished so long ago — was the most familiar room. 
In a low chair on the right of the fireplace sat the charming 
little old lady herself, Mrs Beerbohm, in a black dress with 
a white shawl across her shoulders and a white lace cap on 
her head. With her hair done en landeaux she looked like a 
miniature Queen Victoria; but perhaps the great Queen 
herself was as small — I rather think she was. Mrs Beerbohm 
was wrapped up in her children; but Max was the apple of 
her eye; and because of my own admiration for Max, I was 
treated almost as a member of the family. 

Herbert Tree was of course already famous, but the family 
almost deified Max, and his every wish was household law. 
Always, on going to see Max, whose room was at the top of 
the house, I stopped on my way to chat for a while with his 
mother; I should have felt it a kind of lese-majeste to pass 
her drawing room door without going in to pay my respects; 
and, needless to say, though we spoke of many things, it was 
to Max that the conversation always turned. She was anxious 


about his future, but my firm faith in his star brought her 
comfort. Criticism of Max’s early essays and caricatures was 
by no means friendly — they shared something of the un- 
popularity of Beardsley’s drawings. Herbert Tree was dis- 
quieted a good deal about the caricatures; he recognised 
the ir wit, but listened too readily to friends who told him 
that Max could not draw. Whenever we met, he urged 
me to press upon Max the need for correctness. In vain 
I explained that Max’s manner of drawing was adapted 
to his needs; that it was, in fact, for its purpose, excellent 

Tree, though he had an open and, on occasions, an adven- 
turous mind, was surrounded, like most actor-managers, by 
flatterers, but he was too intelligent to be deceived. He was 
well aware of the value of the people about him, and he won 
the devotion of those who could serve him best. Tree had 
a sure sense of theatrical effect. His artistic adviser was 
Comyns Carr, who was in close touch with Burne-Jones 
and his circle. Indeed, Carr knew many artists, for with 
Charles Halle he ran the New Gallery, and every year 
perambulated the London studios, selecting and rejecting 
pictures. I was inclined to scoff at an amateur, as indeed 
Carr was, taking himself seriously as a judge, and a jury 
as well. 

I couldn’t admire Tree as I did his brother, though in the 
eyes of the world Tree, and not Max, was the man. Nor was 
I ever quite at my ease with Tree, perhaps because he was 
not his natural self with me. Even at the Beerbohms and at 
his house in Sloane Street, I felt an element of constraint in 
the atmosphere. But at his supper parties at Sloane Street 
Mrs Tree’s wit made a pleasant diversion. I often escaped 
from the distinguished company below to draw soldiers and 
policemen for little Viola upstairs. 

I did one or two portraits of Tree at the Haymarket 
Theatre; but he was always surrounded by people, and I 
found it a hopeless task. However, one day he sent a hansom 
to fetch me to Jack Straw’s Castle, where he was staying 


Herbert Tree's 


Exercise on ‘with Mrs Tree, and where I made a pastel of him in peace. 
horseback Alone with his friends, he could be delightful. 

Since the Morocco adventure I kept up my riding: ‘ What’s 
this I hear about m’rocking horses, Parson?’ Whisder asked 
me. I found a tradesman close by Glebe Place, who was in 
the Yeomanry and wanted his horse exercised; so I rode 
regularly in Battersea Park in the early mornings. Sometimes 
Sargent, who had been ordered to ride for his health, would 
join me, but he was a poor horseman and was never at ease 
in the saddle. He used to say of himself that he looked, and 
felt, like the proverbial sack of potatoes. 

Tree, too, used to ride in the Row; but at times was too 
busy, when he very kindly offered me the use of his mount; 
but there must have been some misunderstanding when I 
called at the stable, for Mrs Tree, whose wit always delighted 
me, wrote: £ Dear Mr Rothenstein, I am in great dismay and 
distress to hear that the horse which I fondly hoped was 
grazing peacefully under your easel (not that you let grass 
grow there) had been rudely denied you. I am furious with 
the livery stable people, and you must be furious with me. 
Could you come with me and hear them apologise, or do 
you alas no longer want that head-eating horse? Oh, what 
praises have I not heard of your work in the Grafton. 
I congratulate you so much. You won’t forget that I am to 
sit? Yours very sincerely, Maud Beerbohm Tree.’ 

The Beerbohms invariably took me with them to the first 
nights at the Haymarket, and later at Her Majesty’s Theatre. 
It -was exciting to see the house full of famous men and 
reigning beauties. Max kn.ew them all by sight, and through 
him I became familiar with the appearance of many of the 
great social figures of the time. But I was never quite happy 
at these first nights, for fear things should not go well; for 
naturally Tree’s success meant much to the Beerbohms. 
Nor could I always admire the elaborate scenery and dresses 
as much as I wished ; and Tree was less successful in some of 
his parts than in others. 

After one of these first nights, while I was abroad, Max 


wrote: ‘Such a brilliant first night at the Haymarket on 
Wednesday. The stalls were simply infested with politicians, 
whilst peeresses-in-their-own-right were hustled into tiny 
boxes over the chandeliers. Zola was to have come, but, 
being travel worn, did not and went instead to the Alhambra. 
Oscar was also at the Alhambra, dancing attendance upon 
Zola’s attendants. A. propos of him, did I tell you that I saw 
a good deal of his brother Willie at Broadstairs?’ 

Max had a second brother, J ulius, who had all the Beerbohm 
charm, and was more easy to get on with than Herbert. He 
thoroughly approved of Max’s writing and drawing, and the 
warm appreciation of Robert Ross, W alter Sickert and Aubrey 
Beardsley was an added source of comfort to the family. 

Only once did I fall into disgrace with Mrs Beerbohm. 
The occasion came about in this way. Max and I being one 
night at the Cafe Royal, we were joined by Gordon Craig. 
Craig had a book with him, in which he asked me to make 
a drawing. I did a litde caricature of Max in pen and ink. 
Craig was then bringing out his charming Page at irregular 
intervals, and he asked Max to give him a caricature of 
myself, and proposed reproducing the two together. My 
litde drawing seemed to me very harmless; Max’s of me was 
particularly brutal. When The Page appeared, however, and 
Mrs Beerbohm saw my drawing, she was quite angry. I could 
not help being amused at her sensitiveness about a litde 
charge of her son, when she, dear lady, was so indignant with 
people who complained of Max’s incisive satire. 

Maybe it was the drabness of ordinary life that made the 
music-halls so attractive. And not only the music-halls, but 
the theatres as well, and the fair and the roundabouts. There 
was also the Punch and Judy show, still, in those early days, 
a going concern. The old show was brighdy painted, and the 
performance completer and more traditional than later ones 
I have seen. Punch and Judy have fallen on evil days. The 
few shows that are still to be seen in London are poor, shabby 
affairs. I was always attracted by the figure of Punch — a 
crude but virile precursor of Falstaff — more grossly comedic, 


Dangers of 


Punch and Judy as befits a popular figure appealing to an illiterate crowd. 

But what a gorgeous figure and what a drama ! I used to 
feel its plot, so exciting, so full and direct in the characterisa- 
tion, so rapid in movement, might serve as a model for 
contemporary playwrights. 

Having hired a particularly good Punch and Judy show, 
I asked Bernard Shaw, William Archer, and other friends 
interested in the theatre to come to my studio for the per- 
formance. There was also a little ambulant marionette theatre 
which was set up in the London streets; this also I induced 
to come to Glebe Place, and made a number of careful pastel 
studies of some of the figures and scenes, which amused 
Gordon Craig. 

Gordon Craig himself I had met, with Jimmy Pryde, in an 
auction room in the Strand, where cheap pictures were being 
sold; what a handsome person I thought, brimful of ideas, 
and apt to do and say unexpected things. He had lately been 
acting small parts with Irving; but for the moment he was 
free. Inspired by Pryde and Nicholson, whose romantic 
drawings gave Craig many hints about stage figures and 
scenes, he was doing wood-cuts in his spare time. How good 
an actor he was I don’t know. I saw him once act as Hamlet, 
somewhere in Islington, and never had I seen such a touching 
and beautiful figure. I made him sit for a painting in his 
Hamlet dress, a small full-length, which was never finished; 
for he came, or stayed away, as the spirit moved him. He and 
Max Beerbohm are the two friends who, in my eyes, have 
altered least. Teddy has now as much enthusiasm for the 
theatre as then; and the same old fire. 

William Nicholson had married Pryde’s sister, and was 
living at Bushey. He or Pryde — I forget which — took me 
over to see Herkomer in his Rhine-Bayreuth-Bavarian castle. 
There was no lady combing her golden locks; but I met the 
courteous Hubert, who, save in name, bore no resemblance 
to a robber baron. Otherwise the Rhine-Bayreuth atmo- 
sphere was evident throughout, and I was not sorry that I 
had escaped a Bushey education. 

2 76 


Pryde’s passion in those days was to dress up as Pierrot; Ellen Terry 
indeed, he had much of Pierrot’s character. Nicholson de- 
served the fame and success he achieved with his London 
types, and his wood-block portraits ; but Pryde had to wait 
a long time before Fortune took note of him. 

Through Craig I had the privilege of meeting his dear 
mother. Ellen Terry took me to her heart at once. Was I not 
Teddy’s friend? Craig was then without an engagement. 

The place that Whistler and Degas had for me among 
painters, Irving had in Craig’s eyes. Unfortunately, Irving 
could not always provide work for Teddy; but Craig 
did not remain idle, and busied himself with writing and 
did book-plates, and made illustrations for The Page — 
a magazine of which, so far as I could see, he was the sole 
editor and art editor, and all the contributors and illustrators 

Clearly Craig’s gifts were too varied to allow of his acting 
and nothing more; perhaps, too, his genius stood in the way 
of his talents. Ideas poured from his brain; but ideas are not 
easily coined into guineas, and while his mother adored him, 
she was often worried about him. My unshaken belief in his 
daimon naturally delighted Miss Terry, and won me her 
lasting affection and friendship. When in 1898 Ellen Terry 
took a theatre and gave Gordon Craig a free hand, he 
triumphantly justified this faith. I had never before, nor have 
I since, seen anything more completely satisfying than the 
scenery, dresses and dramatic grouping of Ibsen’s Vikings 
and of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing , which Craig 
produced for his mother. 

Craig was keen to produce a play by Henley. He wrote 
from Thames Ditton: 

My dear Will, 

I have heard from Signor Henley. His first desire is that 
a good company should perform his play. 

Natiirlich ! ! 

Now can you learn from Miss Kingsley if she is serious 


Craig plans when she says she may be able to find people with money 
a play to start a' provincial company. 

Henley is probably tired of actors who visit him only to 
mention his plays as likely plays — or graceful plays and 
suchlike rot. So I will not go visit him till I can speak 
definitely about this tour. 

My idea is not to get 20 of the best actors in London to 
play: that would turn the play into a variety entertainment 
consisting of 20 turns. Recruits (and let them see to it that 
they possess large noses) with enthusiasm, under a cold- 
blooded deliberate gent like myself can get a better result. 

So discover if your nice friend Miss Kingsley is serious 
and means business. 

I don’t want this to fall to the ground. 

Yours ever, 


My son gets more like the King of Rome every day. The 
new baby has not arrived yet. 

I have just read Shelley’s Cenci. It’s sent me mad. 

The play never came off, but the baby arrived; and soon 
after Craig wrote of the christening, ‘There is always a great 
ceremony. He or she is held by the nurse — the servants hold 
wax candles, a priest is sent for and then I read in a loud 
voice Polonius’ advice to his son. The infant is touched even 
to shedding tears ! ’ and the letter was signed * Gordon Cenci 




I had been wise to have passed a summer now and then Yorkshire — 
painting in Yorkshire. The subjects to be found there are and France 
bleak but have a beauty of their own, and for me, no subjects 
had a stronger appeal. I went home to Bradford frequently, 
but for week-ends only, and when each summer came, France 
called to me. I liked French people and French ways; but 
I knew little of France beyond the Seine country between 
Rouen and Paris. One evening at the Gourmets I met 
Sparling, then Miss May Morris’ husband. Sparling told me 
about the Burgundy country and how Morris thought that the 
churches there were among the most beautiful in France. So 
I went by train, as he advised me to do, to La Roche, and from 
there I cycled through the C6te d’Or. It was lovely country 
indeed, and Morris was right about the churches. There were 
then few tourists in this country; the inns were cheap and 
good, the wine was admirable, the innkeepers hospitable. 

Here, it seemed, was la vieille France , a land of big-bearded, 
genial men and sturdy, efficient, kindly women. How won- 
derful everything was ! How enchanting to be an artist, and 
young ! When I saw Vezelay at the top of a lofty hill, about 
which vineyards and orchards basked in the brilliant sun- 
shine, I thought there was no place more lovely in all the 
world. I had seen no building abroad so grand as the great 
Basilica, a universe in stone ! within which there were neither 
stalls, confessionals nor seats. In England what cathedrals 
and churches I knew were railed in; the ground on which 


Churches in they stood was kept neat and tidy like a London square; 

France no matter what surroundings they had, their precincts in- 
variably kept them apart, like precious exhibits. Here in 
France the churches grew, as it were, from the ground; one 
felt that the church was the mother-roof, with the humbler 
roofs nestling around, like a hen with her brood of chicks. 
For this reason the French churches are more paintable than 
our own, though it is clear from the paintings of Turner, 
Girtin and Prout that early in the nineteenth century English 
churches were at no disadvantage in this respect. 

Miss Kingsley and her sister, Miss Christina Knewstub, 
joined me in France just now. I remember how, on being 
shown over a monastery at Flavigny, I was so touched by 
the beauty of the interior and the sense of peace and security 
it induced, that the monk who was with me hoped that 
perhaps I was on the verge of conversion. He led me at last 
to his plain, white- washed room, where he bade me sit down, 
and then and there he tried to prevail on me to remain. All 
without was vanity, he said; only with them, and with others 
like them, could there be peace. I was moved, but a litde 
uncomfortable. I was a painter, I explained, and to me the 
world was appealingly beautiful: in any case, I needed time 
for reflection. The Benedictine sighed, and conducted me to 
the door of the monastery where, with her bright gold hair, 
Miss Kingsley was waiting. I hardly think he expected to 
see me again. No, I didn’t want to retire from the world. 
Indeed, I didn’t want to leave Vezelay. The inn there was 
primitive, but the landlord was a character. He neglected 
his kitchen; his passion was for hunting. When he went 
off with his friends, gun on shoulder, game-bag by his 
side, laced gaiters on his legs, he looked superb. One day 
he beckoned me and took me into the cellar beneath the 
inn. So dark it was, I could see nothing at first; then with 
a shock I discovered the place was full of live birds, 
partridges and pheasants, which perforce had to tread 
daintily in perpetual twilight. Where he got them, or why 
he kept them in darkness, I never knew. I often returned 


to that part of France, and with every visit my pleasure Walking in 
increased. Yorkshire 

The following Easter I went walking with my friend 
Woodford Sallitt in Yorkshire. Here there was none of the 
opulence of Burgundy, but the austerity of the farms and 
houses, the stark lines of the moorsides, the grim churches 
on whose hard roofs no lichens settled, brought back many 
youthful memories. We walked through Malham Cove 
and Gordale Scar — there- could be no grander landscape I 
thought — and through Middleham and Middleton on to 
Richmond, a splendid place in which to paint, with its castle 
and its church. But after the houses in France, those in the 
litde Yorkshire towns looked very small. Morris used to 
say, so Miss Morris had told me, that the French built houses 
for men, the English for rats. How true this was I now saw 
for myself. From Richmond we went on to Barnard Castle, 
ending our tour at High Force and returning through 
Ingleton and Kettlewell. I marvelled how Turner, after 
travelling through this country, had been able to paint, from 
the slightest notes, great and convincing pictures of places 
so briefly seen; so exact was his memory. The ease with 
which we to-day can refer to documents discourages the 
cultivation of memory. I remember reading in Balzac’s 
Maison du Chat qui Pelote of the artist who, looking through 
a window, was so impressed with the scene he beheld, that he 
was able to reproduce it exactly. I thought this fantastic then ; 
but now I believe it might well have been true. 

In 1896 A. E. Housman’s Shropshire Lad was published. 

It had an immediate success — perhaps success is not the 
right word, for rarely has a work of genius been at once 
accepted at its true value. But people who had sneered at 
minor poetry were silenced. Here was fine poetry, and a poet 
taking his place quietly as an immortal, as a great fiddler goes 
to his seat in the orchestra. There was no legend about 
Housman. No one seemed to know anything about him, 
save that he was Laurence Housman’s brother. 

Francis Thompson, too, had brought a new note of 


Strangeness sincerity into poetry, refreshing to people who were becoming 
of Francis a little weary of Caroline pastiche and of the Anglo-French 
Thompson accent, in poems of music-hall and prostitute. But we heard 
strange stories of Thompson himself; he was a sort of De 
Quincey; a mysterious figure who, once in a while, visited 
a publisher’s office to leave a roll of poems, and was then 
lost again in the nameless London crowd. He had no home; 
the arches under the London bridges were said to shelter him 
at night. Then one heard that the ’Meynells had run him to 
earth, and were helping him whenever they could, but he was 
shy and elusive, and preferred his secret life, with its sordid- 
ness and poverty, to the life of the world. Not that the 
Meynells were worldly. Mrs Meynell and her children were 
very poetical beings; at their home in Palace Gate, there were 
no carpets on the floor, but bare boards; they lived simply, 
and at their plain but well furnished table room was joyfully 
made for young painters and poets, and these were always 
set at their ease. I liked Thompson, and respected him for 
his independence. He was attractive looking, too, with his 
fair beard and sad, rather brooding face. 

Then Yeats: he was greatly admired by poets; but there 
was too much of what Robert Bridges called Rosicrucianism 
in his work at this time. Yeats impressed me. True, he had 
an artificial manner, and when he was surrounded by female 
admirers his sublimity came near to the ridiculous at times; 
but he was a true poet, and behind the solemn mask of the 
mystic there was a rare imagination and, what was less often 
suspected, shrewd wisdom. Yeats, like Shaw, was a man of 
great courage, who championed losing causes and men who 
were unfairly assailed. Moreover, he maintained the dignity 
of literature, and even in the midst of his lady admirers he 
was a really fine talker. 

Yeats occupied a couple of rooms in Euston Buildings, 
where every week he held forth on fairies and magic, the 
cabala, and the philosopher’s stone. Sometimes, at these 
gatherings, Miss Florence Farr would croon to the accom- 
paniment of a single-stringed instrument which Yeats had 


invented. Yeats suspected me of irreverence; but what 
amused me more than his Rosicrucianism was his friendship 
with George Moore. He was the Pied Piper who played 
Moore into Dublin and the Irish mountains. 

Stephen Phillips as well was a rising star. I asked Yeats 
and Phillips to lunch at Glebe Place. Yeats was in one of his 
best moods, and he and Phillips sat and talked for hour after 
hour until I, who had a dinner engagement, had to break up 
the party. In Phillips there was little of Yeats’ nonsense, 
and but little of Yeats’ poetic sense; but he had admirers, 
and his popularity made Yeats curious to meet him. Poor 
Phillips! there was always something pathetic about him. 
I suspected that, at heart, he didn’t think himself a great poet; 
but he accepted his luck at being taken for one by Sidney 
Colvin, and his publishers, and many literary ladies. Max, 
with his usual prescience, when someone asked him how long 
Le Gallienne meant to stay in America, remarked ‘He is 
waiting for Stephen Phillips to blow over.’ And blow over 
poor Phillips did; but while he was draped in the mantle of 
success, we were all a litde unkind and ribald. I remember 
that when Binyon had dedicated a book of poems ‘To Joy’, 
I said to Max that Phillips’ next volume would be dedicated 
to ‘Hope Brothers’. 

Talking to Yeats one day I said: ‘Yeats, you must write 
a poem about a man who was too lazy to make a perfect 
sonnet, so he raised a revolution instead.’ An inconsequent 
remark, with nothing of prophecy in my mind. But Yeats 
put me in mind of it many years after when he was staying 
■with us in Gloucestershire, at the time of the Irish Rising of 
1915, largely engineered by poets. 

One morning I got a note from Max telling me of an 
important change in his life: ‘I am so sorry about to-morrow 
— and I hope you won’t be stranded. I have to go to see the 
Saturdayers to-morrow morning — also G. B. S., from whom 
I had a note this evening asking me to take over his business 
now — his foot prevents him from going to any theatre, and 
he is to be moved out of London as soon as possible. So 


Sonnets and 

A tribute I have to go on the streets of journalism this week. An 
from Shaw intellectual prostitute. I hope you won’t pass me by and 
refuse to draw me for the Juniorum. Any other day will do 
for me — after Friday. 5 This was the result of Shaw’s last 
article in The Saturday Review ending * The younger genera- 
tion is knocking at the door; and as I open it there steps 
sprightly in the incomparable Max. I am off duty for ever 
and am going to sleep.’ What a charming tribute from the 
incomparable Shaw! A week later came a note from Max 
‘To-day, for the first time in my life, I had a printer’s devil 
waiting for genius to correct its proof — very distinguished.’ 

This appointment suited Max perfectly. His tastes were 
modest: a few hansom cabs and telegrams; dinner now and 
then at Solferino’s ; coffee at the Cafe Royal. Since he lived 
with his mother, his expenses were light; so these Saturday 
articles gave him ample pocket-money. Every Thursday he 
shut himself up and wrote his weekly review; the rest of the 
week he was free to work or play. 

I loved his room, distempered, as at Oxford, a sky-blue 
colour, and hung with caricatures by Pellegrini. He rarely left 
it. For Max took no exercise; he kept well without it. True 
he would emerge in the evenings to dine at Solferino’s or to 
visit a music-hall, to hear Chevalier or Eugene Stratton or 
Cissie Loftus. He was fascinated by Cissie Loftus; she was 
the English counterpart of Yvette Guilbert. 

‘If I were not afraid’, he wrote, ‘my people might keep it 
out of the newspapers, I should commit suicide to-morrow 
— really I am rather miserable — I know what disappoint- 
ment is. 

‘In my unregenerate days, I was far too much of an egoist 
to seek for any pleasure save in the contemplation of myself: 
taking myself as the standard of perfection, I always found 
myself quite perfect and never was disappointed. But now 
I have become a tuist and all is changed. 

Yesterday I woke dimly in the morning, murmuring to 
myself “To-night Don Juan is produced and from my stall 
I shall see my love in the white kirtle of a Haidee.” I break- 



fast — and open the paper and find a dastardly postponement The Henley 
till Saturday next “ owing to an accident to one of the prin- Regatta 
cipal performers”. Heigho — I suppose there is such a thing 
as Saturday next — do you think so, Will? 

‘What was the accident? To whom had it happened? 

I went down to the Gaiety to ask and found that it was not, 
as I had almost hoped, the Lady Cecilia who had broken her 
heart for me — but only Mr Robert Pateman who had 
sprained his ankle. To Solferino’s I went in solitary wretched- 
ness and tried to forget the gates under a crown of vine 
leaves — but they only deepened the shadow upon my 

Solferino’s was a restaurant in Rupert Street where Max 
and I often dined. It was frequented by the staff of The 
National Observer and The Pall Mall — Harry Cust, Ivan 
Muller, Charles Whibley, George Street — the Henley Re- 
gatta, Max called the company. Henley sometimes joined 
them; Sickert too, and, on rare occasions, Whistler. It was 
quiet and the cooking was excellent; further, the manager 
was willing to give credit, though his trustfulness proved his 

Harry Cust and Ivan Muller ran The Pall Mall Gazette', 

Whibley was Henley’s chief henchman on The National 

Charles Whibley was a great talker; he held his opinions 
obstinately, and the opinion of others he belaboured heartily, 
pour s’ encaurager hii-mime , one might say. So far as I could 
see he stood in fear of two men only: Henley and Whistler. 

Henley, with whom I became friendly at the same time, was 
a kind of literary Drake, half admiral, half pirate, under 
whom Whibley and others served loyally. I didn’t mind 
Henley’s forceful opinions; nor, whenever I disagreed with 
these, did Henley mind either; but with most of his friends 
his word was law, and anyone who disputed his word was 
a heretic. 

Henley himself was a blithe and lovable person, who, 
although crippled, enjoyed a full life. He was the literary 


c Knowing counterpart of Charles Furse: both suffered from grave 
about art ’ physical disabilities, both idolised physical strength and the 
virtues of men of action, both disapproved of ‘decadents’. 
Indeed, anyone -whom either Henley or Furse disliked was 
reckoned a decadent, whether or not; and I defended the 
Pre-Raphaelites and spoke up for Le Gallienne and Shannon 
and Wilde whenever Henley attacked them. 

Ruskin’s attack on Whistler was partly the cause of the 
sharp division between Impressionists and Pre-Raphaelites. 
It is well known that both Dante Gabriel and William 
Rossetti disapproved of Ruskin’s attack and refused to 
support it. But Whistler, as I mentioned earlier, never 
forgave Burne-Jones for giving evidence against him; and it 
was rash to say a word in defence of either Burne-Jones or 
Ruskin in Whistler circles. But if menial freedom is dear to 
me, I can never be patient with the current opinions of the 
moment held by the elite. Whistlerites, Ruskinites, Cezan- 
nites bore me equally; hence I have not been popular with 
the critics nor with those who ‘know about art’. I recollect 
once at the Gosses’ sitting next to an aesthetic young woman 
who, in answer to some remark I made, said freezingly, * I am 
afraid I like only beautiful things.’ When the ladies retired 
I much amused my neighbour by observing how I would like 
to have slapped her Botticelli — she who liked only beautiful 
things ! Well, there are many Botticellis I should like to slap. 
Among Muslims it is ill-bred to enquire of another’s wife; 
I wish it were considered ill-bred at casual meetings with 
artists to invite their opinions on other artists; in fact, I don’t 
know which I dislike the more, to hear an artist vulgarly 
abused or stupidly praised. How bored I got with the current 
discussions on Beardsley and Sargent ! One never hears an 
original stupid remark — such originality would be only too 
welcome — but it is always the same stupidity one hears. I am 
sure that Solomon said to his cunning craftsmen, ‘I don’t 
pretend to know anything about art, but I know what I like,’ 
and that Plato used the same words to Pheidias. 

Now Ruskin I have always admired. His opinions never 


seem to matter; indeed, only weaklings aspire to be right; Max and 
but to his knowledge of art Ruskin added the wisdom and George Street 
taste of a noble nature; after which, to be right is of minor 
importance. He had the prophet’s vision, and his mind was 
an organ whence glorious music came. Henley was not a 
Ruskin; yet he was a stimulating, genial person, and the men 
who gathered round him had character and talent. Among 
these, besides Whibley, I particularly liked George Street. 

He was very polished, very urbane; yet his judgment of men 
and manners and events was incisive; there was no one whose 
opinion I valued more. Street was the author of one of the 
most amusing books of the early ’nineties, The Autobiography 
of a Boy. He had been at Charterhouse with Max, but they 
never metat school. Theymetone night at Solferino’s. Street, 
like Max, was something of a dandy. Each aspired to be more 
coldly aloof than the other; but finally warmth crept into 
the party, and there and then a close friendship began be- 
tween Max and Street. Street was a writer of fastidious prose. ' 

I have often wondered why his stories have not been re- 

Besides Solferino’s we discovered a little restaurant in 
Lisle Street, Aux Gourmets, frequented by French workmen 
and clerks from Soho. It was cheap, and it soon became a 
meeting place for artists and scribes. Among them was 
Robert Steele, a learned mediaevalist, and a disciple of William 
Morris. I had earlier wanted to draw William Morris, and 
had asked Shaw to take me to one of his evenings. Shaw 
replied: ‘No use; he’s not to be drawn. It might be done 
with a kodak, taking the same precautions as you would if 
you were garotting him; but I know my man too well to 
suggest a sitting.’ Steele doubted that Shaw was right; but 
alas, I knew better, for Morris had not even looked with a 
friendly eye on Ricketts and Shannon — neither on them nor 
their work. But at this time William Morris was very ill; 
despite his robust appearance and his immense energy, his 
health was broken and his life was to end prematurely. His 
daughter. May, often came to the Gourmets, and later, after 


Mrs Morris Morris’ death, at her house in Hammersmith Terrace I was 
asked to meet Mrs Morris, an almost legendary figure to me. 
It was as though I were asked to meet Laura, or la Simonetta, 
or Vittoria Colonna. She had retained much of the beauty 
which Rossetti has immortalised; her hair, now grey, seemed 
as full and as rich as in his paintings. Memorable was one 
afternoon at Hammersmith Terrace when a visitor, bring- 
ing a copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer, begged Mrs Morris 
to write in it. Mrs Morris took the great book on her knees, 
and as with quill pen in hand she inscribed her name on 
the title-page, she looked like a splendid Sybil from the 
Sistine Chapel. I had heard and read of her moving, a noble 
figure, among the great people about her husband and 
Rossetti — noble but silent. I found her serene indeed, but 
interested in a thousand things; an admirable talker, wholly 
without self-consciousness, always gracious, and in her per- 
son beautifully dignified. Miss Morris’ house was full of her 
father’s prints, wall-papers and hangings; there hung Ros- 
setti’s painting of her mother, and many more photographs 
of her in her younger days. In Mrs Morris’ presence I 
seemed to be living in a dream. Women married to famous 
men are over-shadowed by their husbands; but when they 
survive their husbands, there comes sometimes a later flower- 
ing, previously, perhaps, held in check. 

I made a silverpoint of Miss Morris, but she preferred 
Charles Shannon’s drawings to mine, and wanted her mother 
to sit to him. Mrs Morris, to my surprise, cared less than her 
daughter for Shannon’s work; Steele told someone that my 
‘ concrete ’ mind amused her more than did Shannon’s poetical 
one; that she would not have been averse to sitting had I 
asked her to do so. What an honour this would have been ! 
though after Rossetti’s immortal drawings I should not have 
dared to ask her. 

I got into trouble over Watts’ fine portrait of William 
Morris. Frank Harris rashly asked me to edit a Christmas 
supplement of The Saturday Review. The Pageant had shown 
me the way, and I readily accepted the task. This number, 


now very rare, is memorable in that it contained the first A fan ly Conder 
reproduction of a fan by Conder. Conder took great pains 
to do a design that would reproduce satisfactorily: 

‘You were very good to think of me and I am very pleased 
to do it. I am having more difficulty than I expected as I find 
it difficult to keep the fan simple and at the same time give 
it delicacy. I abandoned one that I was doing in sanguine and 
green and now I am doing one in blue and black and I think 
that will perhaps suit me better. I am sure to be sending it in 
a day or two and hope that will not be behind time. . . .1 have 
done a fair amount of work since I came up and have done 
two marines which I hope will turn out pretty well. In the 
fan I am doing for you I have used three or four shades of 
the same colour and hope that’s all right. I wish a fan I did 
before getting your letter would have suited as it is certainly 
one of my best, but it is painted in so many colours, and I fear 
depends much on its colour for the effect.’ 

I had also asked Max to make one or two caricatures; but 
when he sent them I had to reject the first ones, and evidently 
made suggestions for others. Max writes: ‘I have had a 
glimpse at Bill Watson — though I remember him rather 
faintly. I send you my Rowton also — you must have heard 
of Rowton — Disraeli’s secretary and friend and executor and 
always all over the place. After all, even if he weren’t at all 
known outside the aristocracy you, as an Editor, should 
remember that the aristocracy is a class to be catered for 
too — There are said to be 10,000 of them — However — just 
as you like — And I hope you will like the other caricatures. 

Also that F. H. won’t think they will give offence. Do take 
a high hand with him.... What about my writing something 
for the thing? You see, I don’t know what sort of writing 
they want — essay, fairy story?’ 

To this I at once replied that nothing would please me 
better than to have some of his writing, and in another letter 
he wrote: ‘Also I will do some kind of skit — possibly 
parodies of various writers writing on the subject of Xmas — 

“ Seasonable Tributes” levied by Max Beerbohm? or some- 




l The Saturday thing of the sort — What do you think? Mrs Meynell on 
Supplement ’ “ Holly” — Arthur Symons on “ Xmas Eve in Piccadilly” — 
Henry James never mentioning Xmas by name and so forth 
— Rather amusing if acceptable. Yours, Max.’ 

This is remarkable in that it refers to what was the first 
inception of The Christmas Garland. It took us some time 
to agree about the subjects for Max’s drawing. Finally he 
wrote me: 

My dear Will, 

I wrote to Alfred Austin under an assumed name, asking 
to let me interview him for the English Illustrated. This 
morning comes an exquisite letter saying that ‘The Poet 
Laureate greatly regretted that owing to his rules’ etc. Isn’t 
it rather marvellous of him to call himself these names — to 
a stranger? I can’t think of anyone else. Can you? Isn’t 
Labby a draw? My article on Scott is to be in the next 
Saturday. I am awaiting a proof. 

Yours, max. 

My sister, Constance, has heard from Mrs Campbell — 
She says she is ‘afraid Mr Rothenstein did not succeed in 
his drawing, hut perhaps when he has got it in his studio he 
will be able to touch it up'. My italics. 

An idea! Wilson Barrett in The Sign of the X. Will go 
and see him in it and copy the drapery in the British Museum. 
He would really be a draw. 

And he was a draw. The caricature was admirable, and 
duly appeared in the Christmas number. 

Besides the cover, which I designed, several of my own 
drawings appeared in The Saturday Supplement. One of 
them was the portrait of Herbert Tree, which I had made at 
Jack Straw’s Casde. Another was a drawing of Mrs Craigie. 
Here again the old difficulty occurred, Mrs Craigie writing: 
‘My father has seen the proof of your sketch, and while he 
thinks it admirable work, he does not consider it a satis- 


factory portrait. He is most unwilling that it should appear An editor’s 
in the Saturday. If there were time I would gladly give you worries 
another sitting; but as it is, I fear I must ask you to cancel 
the sketch.’ 

Again I could not, of course, allow anyone to dictate to 
me whether or not a drawing should be exhibited or printed, 
for my own conscience would not allow me to publish 
a drawing I thought inefficient. So the drawing of Mrs 
Craigie appeared, with that of Tree, in the Supplement. 

Hollyer was paid a fee for the right to reproduce his 
photograph of Watts’ portrait of William Morris. But I was 
told that Watts was annoyed at its publication, and I there- 
fore wrote to him to explain that we had Hollyer’ s sanction. 

Watts at once replied: 

Limnerslease, Guildford 
Dec. 24, 1896 

Dear Sir, 

I am very sorry for any annoyance my protest in the mat- 
ter of the reproduction of Mr Morris’s portrait has caused you. 

I promised at the urgent request of Mrs Morris that the por- 
trait should not be reproduced, she wished it for a biography 
in which she is especially interested. So I have since then 
refused all applications. 

I see by the letters from Mr Hollyer which you enclose and 
which I send back — that the permission was given long be- 
fore Mr Morris’s death, so of course I shall let Mrs Morris 
know that there can be no blame to anybody. 

Very truly yours, 


I had an unfortunate experience with Heinemann. I met 
a Freiherr von Bodenhausen, a cultured German who, with 
Graf Kessler, was editing a quarterly based on Ricketts’ and 
Shannon’s Dial'. Bodenhausen proposed to include my litho- 
graph of Zola in an early number. Young artists incline 
to think their present work better than that done two or 

291 19-2 

Heinemann three years before; so I preferred to make a fresh drawing. 
piqued Bodenhausen suggested a drawing of Walter Crane, where- 
upon Heinemann, hearing the Zola lithograph was not to be 
used, wrote me a Whistlerian letter, complaining that I had 
‘picked his pocket in a cafe*. This was unexpected and up- 
setting. It hadn’t occurred to me that Heinemann had sold 
die print of Zola to Bodenhausen. But I couldn’t forget that 
Heinemann was one of my earliest patrons, and some years 
afterwards I wrote to assure him that I had acted innocently 
in the matter; he responded as I expected, and pleasant re- 
lations were resumed. 

I liked Walter Crane, and all his family. Besides Mrs 
Crane there were three charming children. At meals every- 
one sat on one side of a long table, like people in early 
Italian paintings. The Crane’s house in Holland Street was 
very ‘eightyish’; every available place in it was filled with 
china, pewter and brass, Indian idols, carved figures, plaster 
casts, model-ships, mummy-cases, soapstone carvings, and 
other curiosities, while the walls were crowded with blue 
Nankin plates, Japanese prints and fans, Italian engravings, 
Morris designs, early portraits of Crane’s wife and children, 
landscape and decorative paintings by Crane himself. Crane’s 
mind was similarly furnished. He was illustrator, painter, 
designer, craftsman and sculptor by turn; he poured out 
designs for books, tapestries, stained glass, wall-papers, 
rlamasks and cotton fabrics. His mind, perhaps like his 
house, was too full to be kept dusted and tidy; but he had 
unusually broad sympathies, and while he followed in the 
footsteps of Morris and Burne-Jones, he was free from pre- 
judice — his spirit kept open house. I thought my friends 
unfair to his work. I liked his early portraits, and admired 
the ease and ability with which he painted landscapes and 
figures. His skill was extraordinary; he could do anything 
he wanted, or anyone else wanted. But most of all I admired 
his children’s books. Nowhere is the peculiar character of 
the mid- Victorian aesthetic movement better interpreted 
than in these picture-books; and no one has drawn lovelier 


pictures of childhood and youth than Crane in his song- Walter Crane’s 
hooks. One of my earliest loves was for a lady in King books 
Luckieboys Party, but she had formidable rivals in Mrs 

What delightful interiors he invented ! and how easily and 
gracefully his figures moved, indoors and out of doors! 

Crane drew out of his well-stocked head ; he used no models ; 

Mrs Crane disapproved of models. She didn’t disapprove 
of animals, however, and she kept a monkey, and other pets. 

Crane drew animals extremely well — observe the figures in 
The little pigs who went to market and the mice in The Fairy 

As a maker of books Crane was a litde master, as great a 
little master, in my eyes, as Beardsley was, while his range 
was wider, saner and more human. Like Morris, Crane was 
a Socialist; and Socialism meant to him, as it did to Morris, 
a seemlier life for the people; in a Socialist world, men as 
well as women would be becomingly dressed. Crane would 
have loved to wear knee breeches and buckled shoes, with 
the velvet coat and flowing yellow silk tie he did in fact wear. 

He held no very revolutionary views, his was a friendly, 
an affectionate mind, and his dreams were of a better-dressed 
and more beautiful proletariat, their labour interchanged with 
pageantry, and with dancing and singing to pipe and tabor. 

Well, there is something to be said on behalf of his dream. 

If we haven’t as yet adopted pastoral dress, I have seen, 
during the last 40 years, ragged, barefooted boys and sluttish 
untidy girls vanish from the London pavements; and with 
dirt and rags, drunkenness, too, disappeared. 



The National 
Portrait Gallery 



I was careless about getting or keeping proofs of my 
Oxford lithographs. When the book was published I 
could find only half a dozen of the original impressions. One 
of these was of Pater, and after his death I thought it might 
be of interest to the National Portrait Gallery, and someone 
spoke to Cust about it. Cust’s reply was characteristic of 
the time: ‘If Rothenstein wants to have a drawing in a 
gallery, he had better offer one to the Print Room.’ Colvin, 
as a matter of fact, did ask Shannon and myself for some 
prints — a compliment at that time, when living artists were 
rarely represented in national collections. But it wouldn’t 
have done me any good, or the National Portrait Gallery 
any harm, had Cust accepted a proof of Pater’s portrait — the 
only one pulled, apart from the prints which subsequently 
appeared in the Oxford book. The National Portrait Gallery 
has now a more enlightened policy; and no one would 
imagine a young artist suffering from swelled head because 
he had a single print among its collection. 

Pennell reviewed the Oxford book in The Daily Chronicle 
when it came out in 1896, heading his review ‘Oxford 
Caricatures’. Beardsley had written me that Pennell was 
enthusiastic about the Oxford set; but there was litde sign 
of this in his review. There was talk of a Cambridge set, and 
MacColl wrote of a plot to get me to Manchester and Liver- 
pool, his brother-in-law, Oliver Elton, being the chief plotter. 
But nothing came of it, and the following year I proposed to 



Grant Richards, lately become a publisher, to produce a set A new book of 
of drawings which should make a wider appeal. drawings 

I began working on these at once, at first drawing people 
I already knew, at the same time getting introductions to 
others whom so far I had not met. 

My friends were generous in providing the text to ac- 
company the portraits. As I asked people to sit for drawings 
alone, I clearly could not expose them to unflattering 
criticism as well; nor indeed to sugary praise. More than 
once I had to reject text which showed a touch of malice or 
more than a touch of flattery. My friends made many 
suggestions as to who my subjects should be. 

Henley wished me to include George Wyndham. * Dear 
Will Rothenstein,’ he wrote, ‘ George Wyndham will sit to 
you chei vous with pleasure, and he will try to rope in 
A. J. B. (Mr Balfour). I did not give him your address, so 
must write him to 3 5 Park Lane. Send me a proof of W. E. H. 
as soon as you can get one pulled.’ In any case, he said, 

Wyndham wanted a drawing. I wrote to Wyndham while 
he was abroad, and he arranged to sit to me on his return. 

Unfortunately my list had been made out, and most of the 
portraits were already done; and I could not find room for 
George Wyndham. I was a little hurt when, having told 
Henley of my difficulty, I heard nothing further from 
Wyndham. He had a charming and gallant character, and it 
would have been a pleasure to have had him as a sitter. 

Robert Bridges was keen that I should include his friend, 

Canon Dixon. Again I had to explain that the portraits were 
all arranged. Canon Dixon came to sit notwithstanding — 
an interesting man, with a long nose and a beard like a goat’s, 
who in early days had been intimately associated with the 

Robert Bridges also introduced me to Hubert Parry, one 
of the most attractive men I have ever met. I recall him 
coming to lunch at my studio when Miss Terry was there. 

It was Miss Terry’s 50th birthday and Hubert Parry said that 
he too was just turned fifty. They were both in high spirits. 


Sudden end of Miss Terry wanted Parry to admire a portrait I had painted 
‘ The Musician * of her son, when he confessed that he himself had never sat 
to any artist She insisted on my making a lithograph of him 
which, at Robin Legge’s urgent request, was published in 
The Musician , , of which Legge was editor. I hope it was not 
this lithograph that killed the paper, for the number in which 
it appeared was the last. 

Lady Granby 1 sent me some charming letters about my 
drawings. She herself, I thought, did far more gracious 
portraits. She tried to get Cecil RJhodes to sit to me while 
he was in London, and spoke to Miss Rhodes on the subject. 
But Rhodes was much beset, and he left soon afterwards. 
I made a drawing of Lady Granby for the English Portraits. 
From a worldly point of view this was a mistake, for alas, her 
interest in me thereafter diminished. I was not surprised that 
the drawing failed to please her — I never pretended to be 
able to draw beautiful women. 

But some of her friends liked it — among them Henley, 
who said of course I must include it. Asked if he would 
write the text to go with the portrait, he replied: 

* I fear I cannot. I know her ladyship only as a friend. Of 
her [illegible] and position in society rien de rien. I wrote 
to Miss Cust to ask her, and she says they are too intimate. 
Now I have asked George Wyndham. I will let you know 
his views. Come and see Bruce 3 and tell him about Legros. 
I very nearly made him buy a landscape when he was still in 
town. He has some gorgeous pictures, Corot, Rousseau, 
Diaz, Monticelli and especially Jacobus Maris. He won’t 
affect either Whistler or Degas, either Manet or Monet, so 

Yours ever, 

w. E. H.’ 

Henley was devoted to Rodin, and was one of Legros’ 

1 Violet, Duchess of Rutland. 

3 Hamilton Bruce, a well-known collector of pictures. 


loyal supporters; he did his Best to get people to buy their 
work. Rodin had made a fine bust of him, of which he was 
rightly proud. Henley had shocking health, but was uncom- 
plainingly brave. ‘I have been severely ill/ he wrote, ‘ Have 
taken nothing solid for close on three weeks, and am trying 
to gather strength enough to crawl into the country.’ Ag ain : 
‘At last a breathing space between Burns (done) and Byron 
(a commencer) a few days only. What is left of this week in 
fact — if health holds.’ 

I used to take prints and drawings to show Henley, who 
couldn’t easily get about, and whose interest in anything to 
do with art was unfailing. ‘I will tell you what to bring 
when I name a day,’ he wrote. ‘Anything Regency which 
you can find in any case and always; perhaps some Horonobu 
— enfin. Where did Max Beerbohm get his George ? ’ Where, 
indeed, but from Thackeray’s Four Georges , and his own 

Henley was unusually kind over his own portrait I did; 
so indeed was his wife. Robert Bridges, too, wrote in 
generous praise. Bridges took much trouble over arranging 
the Dixon sittings. 

‘Dixon did not at all like your portrait of me, and I am 
surprised at his offering himself, but I know that he would 
like to be in the series — this sort of way of getting into it is 

of course impossible — except with . You had better tell 

him that you have no power to put him in — and then see if 
he still wishes to sit. He would be good to do — some trouble 
with the mouth I expect. 

‘There are of course two sides to everything. I main tain 
that the devils that were sent into the swine had a school of 
art there — seeing strange sights.’ 

A week later he wrote: 


Nov. < 5 , 97 

My dear Rothenstein, 

I am sure that the Canon would give the sum you mention, 
which seems to me very moderate, and I am nearly sure that 


Henley in 
lad health 

A portrait he wants some sort of portrait of himself for his friends. So 
of Bridges that if he shd. like the portrait that you have done of me 
I shall be able to suggest to him that he shd. ‘approach 5 you. 

I am glad that you have brought off a sitting from Parry. 
It is strange that an artist of 50 years shd. still keep his boyish 
expression, and show so little of his work. 

I was at Oxford 2 days ago and saw Warren. What he 
told me of the ‘notice 5 which is to appear with my portrait 
rather alarmed me. I am sorry, but can’t help it. I explicitly 
instructed the writer not to say anything about my work. It 
seems that he has gone lengths. Still he said it was a good 
bit of writing — and I hope to survive its excesses. 

I shall be anxious to see it. 

Can you tell me if Swinburne is in town? I don’t know 
his address, and I want to see him. If you can help me, I shd. 
be much obliged. 

Oxford was looking magically beautiful in the low sun- 
light — and at the Botanical Gardens the blue and pink exotic 
water-lillies were making an unusual show. I rode home over 
the downs on my bicycle. It was lovely. 

Last night we had a fine Guy Fawkes bonfire with a clear 
flame n feet high and G. F. in the middle of it. 

Dixon had kindly offered to write the text for the Bridges’ 
portrait, but it seems finally to have been done by Herbert 
Warren. When Shaw was to send me some lines on Ellen 
Terry, he wrote: ‘ On the occasion of the production of The 
Silver Key at the Haymarket three months or so ago, I wrote 
a lot about Ellen Terry, which ought to do exactly (part of it) 
for what you want. Will you look at it and see whether it will 
do; for I feel incapable of writing another word about her; 
she’s a frightfully difficult subject. How soon do you want 
the stuff anyhow ? ’ With Miss Terry I was no more successful 
than with Lady Granby; but she was ever partial to me on 
account of my friendship with Gordon Craig. Who could 
help loving him? He was so full of life, brimful of ideas, of 
charm, wit and talent. He was a delightful letter-writer — 


one of the best — and he had his mother’s good looks and Irving and 
irresistible ways. Pinero 

I tried to draw Irving; the first attempt was a dismal 
failure. ‘ I know Sir Henry must be difficult (wrote Miss T erry), 
but you have given him a very grim visage — and his wig fits 
him not at all! I like the profile however.’ But I had another 
try, a litde, but not much, more successful. Pinero, always 
a conscientious worker, was unable to write the note to 
accompany the drawing. He answered: 

My dear Rothenstein, 

Alas, you approach me at a most unfortunate moment. 

I am hard driven by work, in danger of finding myself 
seriously behind time, and altogether incapable of thinking 
of anything but the task to which I am bound. I have not 
the knack of ‘dashing things off’, or I would send you what 
you ask for; everything with me must be well considered 
and most carefully done — a sure mark of a poor intellect. 

It is a great regret to me to have to make you this reply, 
because I feel the fullest sympathy with you in your work, 
and hold (of course) Sir Henry Irving in true admiration and 

I was much concerned to read of the affront — so I con- 
sidered it — offered you in Sloane Square, and had prepared 
myself to take measures this morning. Now your second 
note has reached me, and I am glad to find that all is well. 

I am delighted with the kind things you -write about the 
little play. 

Believe me, 

Yours always truly, 


In great haste. 

The ‘affront’ must refer to some difficulty at the Box 
Office of the Court Theatre; I can think of nothing else. 

I fancy the play referred to -was Trelawny of the Weds. 

Pinero was among those I drew for the English Portraits ; 


Max in 
* Vanity Fair ’ 

Max wrote the note on Pinero to go with this drawing. Then 

came a letter: „ , , TT , 

Berkeley Hotel ' 


My dear Will, Sussex 

I sent you a post-card to your former address. Didn’t you 
get it? Also, the Pinero thing was all right, and I have 
returned corrected proof, and will give you the MS. safely 
when you come back to London. Thanks for your enter- 
taining letters. I am glad you are enjoying yourself there. 
I am having a quiet, but good, time. I don’t quite know 
when I leave — it depends on Murray Carson with whom 
I am to write a play. Walter Sickert came down here for a 
day or two and made vague notes for a new caricature of 
me — which he has since finished and which has been taken 
by Vanity Fair. I don’t know when it is to appear — soon, 
I hope. You have not appeared in Vanity Fair , my lad! 
I have been staying with the Harmsworths in Kent — Harms- 
worth wants to be painted by you. Furse, greatly improved, 
came down to make arrangements for painting Mrs Harms- 
worth — and there was much talk of north-lights to be cut in 
the roof and a white silk dress to be made and a small stair- 
case to be built for Mrs Harmsworth to stand on — the 
Harmsworths are very charming people — he quite amazing 
and interesting — Furse seems to regard you with cordial 
toleration. Harmsworth has a firm belief in young men — 
that being, I suppose, the reason he asked me whether you 
charged much. I said your price for full-lengths ranged from 
£5 to sC I 5 — was I right? 

The weather over here is rather ghastly.... I don’t think 
there’s any other news — I have had a great ‘succis’ with an 
attack on Hall Caine in the Daily Mail. I hear that Oscar is 
under surveillance by the French police — I am afraid he may 
be playing the fool. 

I tell everybody you are on a sketching-tour in Burgundy. 




The ‘Pinero thing’, like Max’s price for a full-length portrait 
was not quite all right. Max could not resist a fling at Pinero. 
Pinero objected to the text and proposed that William Archer 
should write in place of Max. ‘He, at least writes like a 

There was a great party given at the Grafton Galleries by 
a hundred distinguished women, each of whom was to invite 
six guests. Nicholson, Max Beerbohm, Jimmy Pryde, Teddy 
Craig and I were guests of Miss Terry — a great honour I felt 
this to be. Miss Ailsa Craig came too, wearing as a cloak part 
of Irving’s Richelieu dress. Tall and slim, she looked beautiful 
walking up the steps into the gallery. She came instead of 
her mother. ‘I wonder did I apologise to you for being 
too ill to meet you at the Grafton Galleries? I should have 
done so — probably didn’t!’ I sent Miss Terry a basket of 
white currants afterwards, a tiny offering. ‘ I wonder did Ted 
go to see you yesterday? or did he write and tell you how 
ill and incapable I have been?’ Yes, Teddie had written one 
of his charming notes. 

On the rails leading to Ditton. 

I saw my mother 5 minutes after I left you to-day. She 
is distressed. She cannot come to sit to-morrow, but swears 
to do so before Wednesday next. Write at once and get her 
to fix a day. If you knew how dead she feels — her voice 
nearly all gone and despair in her heart. But of course you 
understand. She says she got your white currants — which 
she delights in each year when young. This year yours 
arrived before she knew they were up and about. Heavens, 
you’ve nearly killed me to-day by your strides — not in your 
art — unless that is ever on the pavement. France — Joy — 

Yes I must come as Chicot to my sun douche — 

Ever yours, G. c. 

Craig wanted Max and myself to do something for The 

A guest of 
Ellen Terry 


Forgiveness Dear Will, 

from Craig You assaulted me, but I forgive you. On that night as 
Max struck me "with his spear and you filled my ears with 
the vinegar of your laughter and your friends had no pity, 
I still prayed * Father, forgive them they know no(t) what 
the devil they are doing’. I then instructed the cabman. But 
really — you are thoughtless to take me for a gallant. 

I am no gallant and you no gentleman to be noisy at me 
when with a lady ! ! 

To repair this blunder which is worse than ten thousand 
crimes send me something to cut for The Page. Some easy 
considered bit. 

Won’t Max write a note of congratulations ( ?) to the Queen 
on her birthday — for the Page. A few lines just to amuse 
the drooping loyalty of the subscribers. 

I do pity them all so ! ! 

Send me one of the Verlaine portraits (lithos) if you can. 
I should much care to have one. 

Post me to Lyceum Theatre. The letters always forwarded. 

Ever yours affectionately, e. c. 

In addition to my painting, these portraits absorbed all 
my spare time. The first parts of the English Portraits were 
beginning to appear; I was to deliver all the drawings before 
the end of the year. 

Hardy I had met at the Gosses’ earlier in the year. He had 
been to the studio once or twice, and I had made several 
attempts at a portrait. He took a kindly interest in the new 
series, and suggested someone, though, I thought, with 
hesitation, who might be included — Lady Jeune; also, more 
hopefully, George Gissing. He had lately published Jude the 
Obscure , and was so upset at its reception, that he declared 
he would never write another novel. The feeling about his 
picture of Oxford was so strong, he scarcely liked going to 
the Athenaeum. He described one day how, while he was 
sitting quietly reading, unobserved as he hoped, he was 
suddenly aware of the menacing figure of a Bishop striding 


towards him; now he was in for it, he thought; happily the Thomas Hardy 
Bishop passed him by; but he was always in fear of being and a Bishop 
assailed. In future, he said, he would limit himself to writing 
verse. I cared deeply for his poems, truth to tell even more 
for his poems than for his novels, though this was a taste 
then shared by few people; and I thought the simple draw- 
ing made by Hardy himself for the Wessex Poems dramatic 
and moving. 

Hardy resented the constant charge of pessimism made 
against him; he tried to depict man’s life, its beauty and 
ugliness, its generosity and meanness. Far from darkening 
the picture, had he told the truth about village life, no one 
would have stood it, he said. I loved a thing he told about 
young trees when first planted — how, the instant their roots 
came in contact with the ground, they begin to sigh. 

He remarked on the expression of die eyes in the drawing 
I made — he knew the look, he said, for he was often taken 
for a detective. He had a small dark bilberry eye which he 
cocked at you unexpectedly. He was so quiet and un- 
assuming, he somehow put me in mind of a dew-pond on 
the Downs. 

I took Hardy’s advice and approached George Gissing. 

I had heard of Gissing from Frederick Harrison, whose sons 
Gissing had tutored soon after he left Manchester University. 

I liked him very much — a wistful, sensitive nature, a little 
saddened, I thought, and perhaps a litde lacking in vitality, 
but with a tender sense of beauty. He had just come back 
from Italy, full of enthusiasm for the loveliness of the Italian 
scene; but had met with unexpected sorrow at home, on 
hearing that one of his friends, with whom he had spent some 
of his happiest hours, had recently come to a tragic end. 

A man of rare culture, he said of his friend, with strong 
puritanical inhibitions ; yet he had certain inclinations against 
which he had struggled in vain all his life. On account of 
these, and feeling he could fight them no longer, he had 
suddenly shot himself. Gissing, much more than Hardy, 
seemed obsessed by the melancholy side of life. He was 


Cheering up naturally a man of fastidious tastes, but had never had enough 
Gissing material success to satisfy them. I met him again while I was 
staying with Sickert at a hotel in Newhaven. Gissing came 
in looking lonely and depressed. Sickert and I were in our 
usual outrageous spirits ; and I like to think that we enlivened 
Gissing for one long evening, and sent him off next day in 
a more cheerful mood. 

I asked Mr Hardy whether he would write a few lines on 
George Gissing, since he had suggested him as one of the 
subjects for tile English Portraits. He wrote in reply: ‘Strange 
as it may seem, I have not the requisite knowledge either. 
But I think I can help you to some one who could supply 
the lines. I send herewith an excellent little “ appreciation” of 
Mr Gissing’ s work by Henry James — and I think if you 
were to ask him he would shape some of the passages into 
what you require; or allow you to do it yourself. He could 
do it in a few minutes if willing; and certainly nobody else 
could do it so well.’ 

I doubted Henry James doing anything in a few minutes. 
I forget whom I got to write on Gissing; of Henry James 
(who at this time wore a beard) I made two drawings. Then 
came Sargent. 

While I was drawing Sargent he couldn’t bear to remain 
idle; he puffed and fumed, and directly I had done, he in- 
sisted on my sitting to him. He made a drawing on transfer 
paper, which was laid down on the stone by Goulding, six 
proofs only being pulled. One of these Sargent gave to 
Helleu, who asked for it, one went to the Print Room of the 
British Museum, and two he gave to me. I asked Henry 
James to write a few lines for the Sargent portrait, and had 
the following very Jamesian reply: 

Bath Hotel , Bournemouth 
July 13, 1897 

Dear William Rothenstein, 

I am afraid I am condemned, in answer to your note, to 
inflict on your artistic sense more than one shock; therefore 


let the outrage of this ponderous machinery deaden you a A Jamesian 
little at the start perhaps to what may follow. I am sorry to letter 
say, crudely speaking, that I don’t find myself able to promise 
you anything in the nature of a text for your characterisation 
of Sargent. Why should not it, this characterisation, be 
complete in itself? I am sure nothing will be wanting to it. 

At any rate, the case as it stands with me is fairly simple and 
expressible: I have written so much and so hyperbolically 
and so often upon that great man that I scarce feel I have 
another word to say in public. I must reserve my ecstacies 
for conversation, at the peril of finding myself convivially 
silent in the face of future examples. Only the other day, or 
the other month ago, I sounded the silver trump in an 
American periodical — I mean on the occasion of his Academy 
picture. You painters are accustomed to such thunders of 
applause that the whole preparation for you in these matters 
is, I know, different. Yet I have thundered myself. After 
this, how shall I dare to say yes to your still more flattering 
proposal that I shall lay my own head on the block? You 
can so easily chop it off to vent any little irritation my im- 
practicability may have caused you. However, please take it 
as a proof of my complete trust in your magnanimity if I 
answer: with pleasure — do with me whatever you think 
I now deserve. Only I fear I shall not be in town with any 
free day or hour to sit for a goodish while to come. Kindly 
let the matter stand over till we are gathered together again ; 
but don’t doubt meanwhile how delighted I shall be to see 
the copy of your series which you are so good as to pro- 
mise me. 

Believe me yours most truly, 


I drew Cunninghame Graham again for the series. Soon 
afterwards he returned to Morocco, this time travelling far 
into the interior, where he was arrested and imprisoned, and 
his mother was, for a time, very anxious. Then came a 
reassuring letter: 



Graham a 

39 Chester Square , S.W. 

November nth, 1897 

Dear Mr Rothenstein, 

I promised to let you know as soon as I should hear of or 
from Robert. 

A telegram came yesterday evening from Tangier, un- 
signed, and dated the 10th, it was as follows: ‘Released by 
the Sultan, and all right. 5 

Evidently he has had some dangerous experiences though 
probably he will have found them very interesting. It is of 
course a relief to know that he is safe, but I confess I am 
still anxious to know what he may have had to go through. 

I think you will be glad to know that your former 
travelling companion is as he himself says ‘all-right 5 . 

Yours very sincerely, 


The story of Graham’s experiences may be read in the 
remarkable book he wrote, Mogral-el-Acksa, a book that is 
too little known - for it is a classic, I think, of its kind. 

Among others, I had approached Seymour Haden, who at 
once replied, asking me down to stay at Woodcote Manor, 
a beautiful Tudor house, kept in marvellous order. I had 
never seen such shining floors, such polished panelling and 
furniture, bright brass handles and sparkling silver. Haden 
must surely have been something of a tyrant. He was proud 
of his position as President of the Painter-Etchers; and if he 
had a marked sense of his own importance, it must be said 
that no one, not even Whistler, had a greater European re- 
putation as an etcher than Haden. A big, impressive figure, 
whose word was law; for this reason, perhaps, Legros and 
Strang remained outside the Painter-Etchers. 

Lady Haden was Whistler’s half-sister, a gracious, dignified 
lady, rather quiet and subdued in manner. When her husband 
was out of die room, she asked me timidly if I knew her 
brother, and whether I was one of his supporters or not. She 
was pleased when I assured her of my ardent devotion; but 



PARIS (1897) 

it was obvious that Whistler’s name must not be mentioned 
in the Haden household. 

Haden had strong theories about Rembrandt’s etchings, of 
which he attributed a large number to his pupils. He gave a 
vivid account of his meeting with Meryon, when Meryon was 
going out of his mind. He owned Whistler’s piano picture, 
which I now saw for the first time. One of the loveliest of 
Whisder’s portraits, of Lady Haden in riding dress, called 
The Morning Room, had belonged to him also; but this 
no doubt he had sold, for I did not see it in the house. His 
workroom was meticulously orderly. I drew him making a 
mezzotint. It seems to me now surprising that he should 
not have seen what I did. Although it is unwise to allow 
a sitter to see a drawing before it is done, above all an un- 
satisfactory one, one usually shows the completed drawing; 
and Seymour Haden, with his dictatorial ways, was scarcely 
the person to let me carry anything away without first 
inspecting it. Yet when the print appeared, he wrote that 
I would be surprised to hear he had never yet seen the 
portrait: ‘Which I allowed you to take of me, on conditions 
which your publisher, it seems, has taken upon himself to 
disregard. This is bad enough, but to add to it, a personal 
account of me, which I have also neither seen nor consented 
to, is inexcusable.’ 

In reply to a letter explaining the position, he said: ‘I did 
not accuse you of not adhering to your engagement to me. 

I expressed surprise at the high-handed liberty taken by your 
publisher with my personality, as well as the impropriety of 
not sending for my approval a copy of what he was saying 
about me.’ 

This was not very logical, nor very kind. If Seymour 
Haden had made an etching of M&ryon, or of Whisder, 

I presume he would have felt himself free to publish it. I had 
written him of my intention to print a series of portrait 
drawings, and asked whether he would allow me to make one 
of him. He had courteously replied: ‘I shall be most happy 
to give you a sitting.’ There were no conditions mentioned 


Seymour Haden 


Whistler on either side. He had shown marked interest n my litho- 
declines to sit graphic work; indeed, he wanted me to submit to him, 
officially, a plea for membership, as a lithographer, of the 
Painter-Etchers on my return to town, and approach Shan- 
non with a view to our acting together in this. W e had parted 
with cordial expressions. Still, on the whole I met with far 
less trouble at this time than I met with at Oxford. 

Whistler had promised to sit for one of the English 
Portraits ; but when I wrote to remind him he replied, very 
kindly, that ‘the drawings were all right — but the moment 
was difficult’. He was greatly pushed and at work from 
morning till dusk. Besides, he thought two Napoleons at 
a time surely enough. The Napoleons were ‘the African 
filibuster and the apothecary of Hants’. The last clearly was 
Seymour Haden; may be the first was Rhodes. ‘Why then’, 
he added, ‘the champion outlander and lithographer?’ 

For one difficulty I had no one to blame but myself. When 
Oscar Wilde came out of prison, he went straight over to 
France. Most of his old friends and acquaintances had shown 
him the cold shoulder; but for my part I remembered his 
kindness and encouragement, and how often I had been his 
guest in happier days. I knew he would feel the need of 
friendship, and wrote offering to come over if he cared to 
see any of his old friends, to which he replied: 

(June 7th, 1897) 

From M. Sebastian Melmoth, 

Hotel de la Plage , 
Bernaval-sur-Mer , 



My dear good Friend, 

I cannot tell you how pleased I was to get your kind and 
affectionate letter yesterday, and I look forward with real 
delight to the prospect of seeing you, though it be only for 
a day. I am going into Dieppe to breakfast with the Stan- 


nards, who have been most kind to me, and I will send you Wilde free again 

a telegram from there. I so hope you can come tomorrow by 

the daily boat, so that you and your friend can dine and sleep 

here. There is no one in this little inn but myself, but it is 

most comfortable, and the chef, there is a real chef — is an 

artist of great distinction; he walks in the evening by the sea 

to get ideas for the next day. Is it not sweet of him? I have 

taken a chalet for the whole season for £32, so I shall be 

able I hope to work again, and write plays or something. 

I know, dear Will, you will be pleased to know that I have 
not come out of prison an embittered or disappointed man. 

On the contrary in many ways I have gained much. I am 
not really ashamed of having been in prison; I often was in 
more shameful places: but I am really ashamed of having led 
a life unworthy of an artist. I don’t say that Messalina is a 
better companion than Sporus, or that one is all right and 
the other all wrong: I know simply that a life of definite and 
studied materialism, and philosophy of appetite and cynicism, 
and a cult of sensual and senseless ease, are bad things for 
an artist; they narrow the imagination, and dull the more 
delicate sensibilities. I was all wrong, my dear boy, in my 
life. I was not getting the best out of me. Now, I think that 
with good health, and the friendship of a few good, simple 
nice fellows like yourself, and a quiet mode of living, with 
isolation for thought, and freedom from the endless hunger 
for pleasures that wreck the body and imprison the soul — 
well, I think I may do things yet, that you all may like. Of 
course I have lost much, but still, my dear Will, when I 
reckon up all that is left to me, the sun and the sea of this 
beautiful world; its dawns dim with gold and its nights hung 
with silver; many books, and all flowers, and a few good 
friends ; and a brain and body to which health and power are 
not denied — really, I am rich when I count up what I still 
have; and as for money, my money did me horrible harm. 

It wrecked me. I hope just to have enough to enable me to 
live simply and write well. 

So remember that you will find me in many respects very 


A cigarette lox happy — and of course by your sweetness in coining to see 
me, you will bring me happiness along with you. 

As for the silent songs on stone, I am charmed at the 
prospect of having society of yours. It is awfully good of 
you to think of it. I have had many sweet presents, but none 
I shall value more than yours. 

You ask me if you can bring anything from London. 
Well, the salt soft air kills my cigarettes, and I have no box in 
which to keep them. If you are in a millionaire condition 
and could bring me a box for keeping cigarettes in, it would 
be a great boon. In Dieppe there is nothing between a trunk 
zn&zbonlonniere. I do hope to see you to-morrow (Thursday) 
for dinner and sleep. If not, well Friday morning. I am up 
now at eight regularly ! 

I hope you never forget that but for me you would not be 
Will Rothenstein: Artist. You would simply be William 
Rothenstein, R.A. It is one of the most important facts in 
the history of art. 

I look forward greatly to seeing Strangman. His trans- 
lating ‘Lady Windermere’ is delightful. 

Your sincere friend, 


It was a relief to find that Wilde was not embittered. He 
had said to me years before that I was right to put creative 
work before everything else; that an artist needed the 
strength of a steam-engine if he hoped to achieve what would 
last. He used to say, that of course life was the object of 
living; he told a story of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised 
from the dead, to illustrate this. Now he admitted the waste 
of his gifts — the disloyalty to his artist’s nature. Alas, he was 
more broken than at first he imagined he was, and his good 
resolves were based on a will that was weakened beyond 

Wilde met me on the quay at Dieppe. I did not know in 
what state I should find him, but I saw at once that the 
meetingwould not be embarrassing. Hewascarryingaheavy 


stick, and as I got off the boat and greeted him, saying how A warder’s 
well he was looking, he waved it over his head and ex- thirst for 
claimed ‘How can you say such a thing; can’t you see I am knowledge 
unable to stand without a stick?’ He looked, indeed, sur- 
prisingly well, thinner and healthier than heretofore. He was 
happy at Bemaval, he assured me, full of plans for the future. 

He was staying at an inn kept by M. Bonnet, who was most 
attentive to all his wants ; but soon, he said, he would take a 
small chalet and settle down and write, living carefully 
within his means. He had already made friends with his 
neighbours; everyone was charming to him. Later he spoke 
of his prison experiences, of the horrors of the first few 
months, and how by degrees he became reconciled to his 
situation. He seemed to have lost none of his old wit and 
gaiety. He told how, although talking was strictly forbidden, 
one of his warders would exchange a remark with him now 
and then. He had a great respect for Oscar as a literary man, 
and he did not intend to miss such a chance of improving 
himself. He could only get in a few words at a time. 

‘Excuse me, Sir; but Charles Dickens, Sir, would he be 
considered a great writer now, Sir?’ To which Oscar replied: 

‘ Oh yes ; a great writer, indeed ; you see he is no longer alive.’ 

‘Yes, I understand. Sir. Being dead he would be a great 
writer, Sir.’ 

Another time he asked about John Strange Winter. 

* W ould you tell me what you think of him, Sir ? ’ ‘A charm- 
ing person,’ says Oscar, ‘but a lady, you know, not a man. 

Not a great stylist, perhaps, but a good, simple story teller.’ 

‘ Thank you, Sir, I did not know he was a lady, Sir. ’ 

And a third time: ‘Excuse me, Sir, but Marie Corelli, 
would she be considered a great writer, Sir?’ 

‘This was more than I could bear,’ continued Oscar, ‘and 
putting my hand on his shoulder I said: “Now don’t think 
I’ve anything against her moral character, but from the way 
she writes she ought to he here’’ ’ ‘ You say so, Sir, you say so,’ 
said the warder, surprised, but respectful. Was ever so grim 
a jest made in so strange a situation? 


Fresh eggs He enquired, of course, after his friends; I told him 
at the Vak that Ricketts and Shannon had now become prosperous; 

Shannon especially was selling his pictures and getting 
portraits to paint. Oscar appeared surprised. ‘The dear 
Valeists rich!’ Then, after a moment’s reflection, he said 
‘When you go to sup with them, I suppose they have fresh 
eggs now ! ’ 

I had brought a few prints to give Wilde, among them one 
or two proofs of the portraits I was doing for the Grant 
Richards book; it struck me that it would be a delicate and 
heartening thing to ask him to write one of the character 
sketches. He seemed delighted with the idea, and offered to 
write on Henley. He agreed, since the notes were to be 
anonymous, that it was essential, firstly, that the criticisms 
should not be unflattering, and secondly, that his lines should 
not differ noticeably from the rest of the text. He assured 
me that he quite understood; but when his letter-press eame, 
I saw at once how rash I had been: 

‘He founded a school and has survived all his disciples. 
He has always thought too much about himself, which is 
wise; and written too much about others, which is foolish. 
His prose is the beautiful prose of a poet, and his poetry the 
beautiful poetry of a prose-writer. His personality is in- 
sistent. To converse with him is a physical no less than an 
intellectual recreation. He is never forgotten by his enemies, 
and often forgiven by his friends. He has added several new 
words to the language, and his style is an open secret. He 
has fought a good fight and has had to face every difficulty 
except popularity/ 

I wished I might use it; but Henley would be furious. 
And the authorship would at once have been obvious. It was 
an awkward situation; I hated having to reject it, and before 
writing to Wilde, I consulted Max Beerbohm. He of course 
recognised the quality of the lines, but agreed they would 
never do. Oscar was naturally annoyed. In reply to my 
letter, explaining that the text would not fit in with the rest 
of the letter-press, he replied: 


My dear Will, 

Of course I only did it to oblige you — my name was not 
to be appended, nor was there to be any honorarium of any 
kind. It was to oblige you I did it — but with us, as with you, 
as with all artists, one’s work est a prendre ou a laisser. 
I couldn’t go into the details of coarse and notorious facts. 
I know Henley edited the National Observer and was a very 
bitter and in some respects a cowardly socialist in his con- 
duct : I get the historical Review regularly and its silliness and 
stupidity are beyond words. I am only concerned with the 
essence of the man, not with his accidents — miry or other. 

When I said of W. E. H. that his prose was the prose of 
a poet, I paid him an undeserved compliment. His prose is 
jerky, spasmodic, and he is incapable of the beautiful archi- 
tecture of a long sentence, which is the fine flower of prose 
writing, but I praised him for the sake of an antithesis ‘his 
poetry is the beautiful poetry of a prose writer’ — that refers 
to Henley’s finest work, the Hospital Poems — which are in 
vers Hires — and vers Hires are prose. The author by dividing 
the lines shows you the rhythm he wishes you to follow. 
But all that one is concerned with is literature ; poetry is not 
finer than prose, nor prose than poetry — when one uses the 
words poetry and prose one is merely referring to certain 
technical modes of word-music, the melody and harmony 
one might say — though they are not exclusive terms — and 
though I praised Henley too much, too extravagantly, when 
I said his prose was the beautiful prose of a poet, the latter 
part of the sentence is a subtle aesthetic appreciation of his 
vers Hires , which W. E. H., if he has any critical faculty left, 
would be the first to appreciate. You seem to me to have 
misunderstood the sentence — Mallarme would understand 
it. But the matter is of no importance. Everybody is greedy 
of common panegyrics and W. E. H. would much sooner 
have a long list of his literary failures chronicled with dates. 

I am still here, though the wind blows terribly — your 
lovely lithographs are on my walls, and you will be pleased 


Wilde and 

e That harlequin My dear Will, 

Wilde ’ i cannot tell you how touched I am by your letter, and by 
all you say of my poem. Why on earth don’t you write 
literary criticisms for papers? I wish the Ballad had fallen 
into your hands. No one has said things so sympathiques , 
so full of delicate insight, so large, from the point of view 
of art, as you. Your letter has given me more pleasure, more 
pride, than anything has done since the poem appeared. 
Yes: it is something to have made ‘a sonnet out of skilly’. 
(Cunninghame Graham will explain to you what skilly is. 
You must never know my personal experience.) And I do 
think the whole affair ‘realised’ — and that is triumph. I hope 
you will be in Paris sometime this spring, and come and see 
me. I see by the papers that you are still making mortals 
immortal — and I wish you were working for a Paris news- 
paper, and that I could see your work making kiosques 

Ever yours, 


There was a remarkable absence of bitterness in Wilde; 
as Pater said, he always had a phrase, and a happy phrase. 
Men said that Wilde posed up to the last; I prefer to say that 
even prison, with its attendant pain and humiliation, failed to 
break Wilde’s spirit; that he was himself to the end. He was 
never a great poet, and suffering couldn’t make him one; but 
in his strikingly intelligent outlook on life and literature, his 
unfailing sympathy with all conditions of men and his 
deliciously humorous acceptance of any situation in which 
he found himself he showed his genius. Watts-Dunton called 
him ‘that harlequin Wilde’. Well, the figure of Harlequin is 
an immortal one; and on Watts, her solicitor, Fame turned 
her back, but she smiled upon Wilde, who had lost all, even 
his honour. Did not Blake say something to the effect that 
if a fool would but believe in his folly, he would achieve 




W hile I was engaged on these lithographs, Legros had 
an itch to revisit Paris and see some of his old friends. 
Would I go with him? I was always glad of an excuse to 
go back to Paris; moreover, I had heard from Conder, from 
Dieppe : ‘Aubrey Beardsley left about three weeks ago and I 
fear is very bad in Paris as he caught cold on arriving/ 
I gathered from his sister Mabel that he was seriously ill. 
I found Aubrey staying at a hotel on the Quai Voltaire, much 
changed, less in appearance — he had always looked delicate 
— than in character and outlook. All artifice had gone; he 
was gentle and affectionate, and I realised now how much 
I cared for him. He had found peace, he said; but how 
rudderless he had been, how vain; and he spoke wistfully of 
what he would do if more time were allowed him; spoke 
with regret, too, of many drawings he had done, and of his 
anxiety to efface the traces of a self that was now no more. 
Alas, that this new self, of which he was so poignantly aware, 
should have so frail a hold ! He was going south, to Mentone, 
to gain fresh strength, though he foresaw, I felt, there 
was little hope. I had done well to come; but for this, I had 
never known the Aubrey whom I now loved, and would 
have continued to love, had he been spared. Perhaps some 
would say the old Beardsley was the true Beardsley. True as 
he had been to a former self, the new Aubrey would have 
been true to a finer self. I had seen a new beauty in his face, 


Beardsley ’s 

An affront by felt a new gentleness in his ways ; and I believed them due to 
Whistler something other than weakness. 

I went to pay my respects to Fantin-Latour, and told him 
that Legros was in Paris; the idea of two old friends, long 
separated, keeping up an ancient quarrel, irked me, and I was 
eager to bring them together again. Legros was willing, but 
Fantin hung back — ‘What is the use?’ he asked, ‘there is 
nothing to be gained.’ He was in a bitter mood, brooding 
over a recent meeting with Whistler. There had been a knock 
at his door, and there stood Whisder — Whisder, whom he 
had not seen for how many years ! But, scarcely greeting 
Fantin, he walked back to a lady outside, saying: ‘It’s all 
right, he’s here.’ Then Whisder brought her with him into 
the studio, and seeing the Hommage a Delacroix , took her 
up to it. ‘ Me voila,’ he said of the frock-coated figure in the 
foreground of the picture, then turned to leave. ‘Au revoir 
Fantin ! ’ and with a wave of the hand Whisder was gone. 

I could scarcely credit Fantin’s story; he and Whisder had 
been fellow-students and, for years, devoted friends. It 
seemed unlike Whisder, usually so courteous, and with his 
French friends especially, so genial and affectionate. True, 
when nursing a grievance he was all eyeglass and stone; but 
with Fantin there had been no quarrel. I was dismayed; but 
for the moment it was useless to pursue the subject of a 
meeting with Legros. 

I went with Legros to call on Degas. It was delightful to 
see Degas’ pleasure in showing his drawings and paintings, 
and Legros’ interest in seeing them. I have already told how 
Degas took us into his bedroom to show Legros one of his 
drawings, hanging between two studies by Ingres. 

I returned with Legros to dine at the rue Victor Masse. 
I recall Degas saying: ‘It is not difficult to get life into 
a six-hours’ study, the difficulty is to retain it there in sixty.’ 
In painting his practice was, he said, to keep the darks a litde 
lighter, the lights a litde darker, until the final painting. 
Degas was interested in photography and showed us some 
photographs taken by firelight. I told him how Turner 



believed that photography, then newly discovered, would Visiting Degas 
revolutionise painting — that it would help painters to a new 
knowledge of light. Legros said that Millais used photo- 
graphy in his portraits — a bad thing, for he came to rely 
entirely on photographs. 

Degas described how Heseltine had been lately to see 
him — he was after his Ingres drawings, he thought. Never 
should any of these leave his charge, he declared emphatically; 
he would keep his collection intact; France should have his 
pictures after his death, but not Paris. He was looking out 
for a place not too far from Paris, where he could house it. 

He had the Dulwich Gallery in mind. Good things were 
worth taking trouble to see; to-day everything was made too 
easy; his pictures were well worth a pilgrimage to some quiet 
village. I was surprised to hear, when, during the war, Degas 
died, that he had made no such provision as this he spoke of. 

His collection was to be sold at the Hotel Drouot. 

It was Rodin, of whose eye to business Degas spoke so 
scornfully, who left his collection to the nation. Legros of 
course went to visit Rodin; Rodin was his closest friend; 
and I received an unexpected welcome when I found myself, 
with Legros, at the studio in the rue de l’Universite. I had 
for long revered Rodin from afar: I had seen him once at the 
vernissage of the Salon, and admired his magnificent head; 
now I was face to face with the man, and his works. 

I had heard of his greatest work, on which he had been 
engaged for years, Les Portes d’Enfer. If I was a little dis- 
appointed when I saw the actual work, I didn’t confess it to 
myself: a colossal conception, I had thought, and I imagined 
a grandiose result. I was more impressed by the Victor 
Hugo group; the figure of Victor Hugo, nude, and with out- 
stretched arm, was grand and arresting; equally impressive 
were the attendant Fates. There were other figures and 
busts on which Bourdelle, then acting as Rodin’s assistant, 
was busy. All these I saw, as I saw Rodin himself, through 
a prism of hero-worship. Every word Rodin said seemed 
pregnant with meaning, as I watched him working the clay 


Visiting Rodin "with his powerful hands. When I drew him I thought I had 
never seen a grander head. I noticed how strongly the nose 
was set in the face, how ample its width between the brows, 
how bold the junction of the forehead with the nose. The 
eye was small and clear in colour, with a single sweeping 
crease from the corner of each and over the cheek bone, and 
the hair grew strongly on his head, like the hair of a horse’s 
mane, like the crest of a Greek helmet, I thought; and again 
I noticed the powerful hands, with the great thumbs, square- 
nailed. I think Legros must have told Rodin that I had been 
helpful to him; for Rodin was more than friendly, and almost 
embarrassed me by his attention. I must come and stay with 
him at Meudon, he said, before returning to London. At his 
house at Meudon I was able to study Rodin’s work at my 
ease. Besides many now well-known pieces, he showed me 
a cupboard full of maquettes, exquisitely modelled. He 
would take two or three of these and group them together, 
first in one way and then in another. They gave him ideas 
for his compositions, he said. Many of his marbles, the 
works I least cared for, were inspired in this way. Rodin 
didn’t execute these marbles; they were carried out by 
Italians under his direction; he never did much to them 
himself. He sold these marbles more easily than the much 
finer bronzes, and they proved his surest source of income. 

The great vogue for Rodin was not yet; indeed, he com- 
plained bitterly of neglect, of being passed over, alone among 
contemporary sculptors, each time a public commission was 

In the evenings we walked in his garden, and looked down 
on the Seine and on the distant panorama of Paris, bathed in 
the warm glow of the evening mist. During a walk, Rodin 
embarrassed me by remarking : ‘ People say I think too much 
about women.’ I was going to answer with conventional 
sympathy — ■* but how absurd ! ’ when Rodin, after a moment’s 
reflection, added — ‘yet, after all, what is there more im- 
portant to think about?’ 

I was eager to get people in England to realise Rodin’s 



genius; Henley and Sargent would support efforts on his Rodin’s models 
behalf. I was, in fact, able to be of some service to Rodin; 
and I call to mind, how, a year or two later, he said : ‘ I want 
to do something for you in return; I have engaged the most 
beautiful model in Paris; you shall come and draw her.’ 

What a charming acknowledgment from an old artist to a 
young one, I thought. The model was indeed beautiful. 

I drew her — how I longed to draw better ! — under Rodin’s 
approving eye; but his eye was shrewd as well as approving. 

For when I asked the lovely creature — what could I do less? — 
to dine that evening, she promised to come, but I waited in 
vain ; and next day I found that Rodin knew all about it. * She 
shall sit for you, mon ami, as often as you please, but no 
dining! I have lost too many models that way!’ 

Rodin was always drawing; he would walk restlessly round 
the model, making loose outline drawings in pencil, some- 
times adding a light coloured wash. And how he praised her 
forms! caressing them with his eyes, and sometimes, too, 
with his hand, and drawing my attention to their beauties. 

I cared greatly for some early drawings which Rodin showed 
me at Meudon. These were very powerful, classical and 
romantic at the same time, evoking sculpture which no one, 
not even Rodin himself, had attempted. They were mag- 
nificent drawings, and I was enthusiastic about them, to 
Rodin’s surprise — and pleasure, I think. No one, he said, had 
thought much of these scraps — certainly not enough to 
acquire them. I assured him that English collectors would 
jump at the chance, and he confided the drawings to my care. 

He would talk constantly of his ideals and his work, some- 
times in a curious vein — there was an element of the Tantric 
spirit in Rodin. But usually his talk was of the illimitable 
perfection of nature; of praising nature he never tired. He 
talked always of the Greeks; yet his sculpture, I now feel, 
has more in common with the Indian spirit than with the 
Greek. The calm Greek temper — with its ideal of /irjSev ayav, 
though he little suspected this, was directly opposed to his 

FMM $21 21 

Friendship I was to see much of Rodin in after years, when he had 
■with Rodin become famous. At this time his friendship seemed a unique 
and wonderful privilege; a new asset in my life. Staying at 
Meudon, I became intimate almost at once with his mind, his 
vision and his art; he showed not his own work only, but 
the Greek marbles he was beginning to acquire; and since 
he seemed to take my artistic sensibility for granted, he gave 
free expression to his aesthetic views. These were often clear 
and emphatic — he was by temperament an objective artist. 
But his talk was sometimes vague and mystical, especially 
with critics and journalists. Perhaps because of this mysti- 
cism he held Carriere to be a great painter, greater than 
Degas, he believed. He owned several paintings by Carri&re; 
others by Monet, by Sargent and by Alexander Harrison. 
He did full justice to Sargent’s virtuosity and power; indeed, 
he spoke of him more generously than Sargent’s friends were 
wont to do. To me Rodin’s work combined an impassioned 
interest in tense and nervous form with a poetical vision — an 
artist’s poetry. And, let it be confessed, there was added a 
certain paganism, a sensuality, a preoccupation with unusual 
sexual subject matter, a side of his temperament which be- 
came almost abnormally developed — which readily appeals 
to a young mind. He spoke to me of my own work, which 
■was bound, he warned me, to be misunderstood. But never 
despair, and above all, never destroy; put every drawing in 
a drawer, some day it will serve. And I left him with an 
added self-respect, with an increased pride in being an artist, 
and with stricter resolutions to keep the small flame sheltered 
and constantly fed. 

Maybe there are works by Rodin that will not survive the 
challenge of time; maybe the form, and the passion and 
poetry that inspire his form, convince less to-day than they 
did yesterday; none the less, Rodin is likely to remain one 
of the great European figures of his century. His influence 
coloured an epoch; no sculpture of the early part of this 
century but bore its traces. 

I returned home with drawings of Rodin, of Fantin- 



Latour and of Beardsley — the last, I felt, I should ever make 
of Beardsley. I was also the richer by a lithograph of himself 
which Fantin gave me, and an early drawing by Rodin, also 
a gift. Beardsley thought the drawings of Rodin and Fantin- 
Latour and the one of himself an improvement on any I had 
yet done. Looking back, I think it was a propitious time, 
such as comes, perhaps, every ten years or so; a lucky 
moment when something crystallises into a more or less final 
form. This happens to most artists I think ; but they recognise 
it only in retrospect. 

Rodin was generous in his praise of the proofs I sent him: 
c Mon cher ami/ he wrote, c J’ai regu un magnifique portrait 
et j 5 en suis tres reconnaissant. Notre maitre Legros a du le 
trouver bien. Merci, ami, d’avoir fait ma commission a 
Henley . 5 I made a small medallion of Rodin. He refers to 
some delay in acknowledging it, and writes of the bad state 
of his affairs : ‘ quelles excuses je dois vous faire car vous ne 
savez que penser. Mais j 5 ai tres certainement votre indul- 
gence; ma position est si mauvaise que je suis accable. Que 
votre medaillon m 5 a fait plaisir, et que je vous suis recon- 
naissant comme sculp teur et comme ami. Vous avez bien 
voulu encore ajouter un bronze qui m 5 a fait plaisir aussi; et 
pour la sculpture et pour l’intention. Pardonnez done moi 
et pensez que mon cceur est a vous . 5 By way of return, 
Rodin sent me a plaster of a satyr carrying off a woman. 
About this plaster he wrote < le petit platre ne sortira pas de 
chei vous . . .vous me rendrez tres heureux quand je rejois vos 
amis qui deviennent les miens. Votre amour de Fart est une 
des grandes regies de notre vie, et c 5 est cela qui nous a 
familiarise si vite ensemble, aussi Pamitie de Legros pour 
nous deux 5 . 

Rodin spoke to me later about his plaster figures. He 
feared that some day the friends to whom he gave them 
might get them recast, and dispose of them as bronzes. 
Rodin insisted that they were not suitable for casting. He 
expressed himself strongly on this subject, and begged me to 
keep his views in mind if ever I saw casts of this kind. It 





Rodin forgeries happened that recently a bronze made from a plaster cast 
was offered to the Tate Gallery, and I was able to detect its 
spurious quality. I am told that many bronzes of this kind 
are now offered in Paris as originals, as if cast for, and 
approved by, Rodin himself. But no artist can be protected, 
after his death, from exploitation or forgery. 



I "was now exhibiting regularly at the New English Art New methods 
Club. When I left Julian’s my painting was slight in 
quality and low in tone; now I was attempting a more solid 
and a more luminous method. 

My sympathies were with the Realists ; but I felt there was 
something accidental, a want of motive and of dignity, in 
contemporary painting. To achieve the vitality which results 
from direct contact with nature, with nature’s final simplicity 
and radiance — how unattainable ! yet only by aiming at an 
impossible perfection is possible perfection to be reached. 

I knew myself to be wanting in imagination; yet I most 
admired imaginative painters. Some artists — like Lavery for 
instance — say that painting is good enough for them — all else 
is ‘literature’. The Louvre and the National Gallery show 
that the most perfect painters have the richest minds; or to 
state it in another way: those gifted with the greatest in- 
tellectual powers prove to be also the greatest craftsmen. 

But I was possessed with the faith that if I concerned 
myself wholly with appearance, something of the mystery 
of life might creep into my work. At rare moments, while 
painting, I have felt myself caught, as it were, in a kind of 
cosmic rhythm; but such experiences are usually all too brief. 

I was no philosopher like Fry; but nothing seemed pro- 
founder to me than appearance. Through devotion to ap- 
pearance we may even interpret a reality which is beyond 
our conscious understanding; in this, to my mind, lies the 

3 2 5 

The meaning supreme importance of the painter’s art. No good artist 
of beauty copies merely to imitate; but because form is the discipline 
imposed on the universe by the hidden God, Thy will , not 
mine , is good aesthetic, as it is good moral, law. The state- 
ment £ God made man in his own image’ is pregnant. Copy 
the image of man and you approach the face of God. Perhaps 
external beauty is not, after all, a merely superficial thing, 
but a significant answer to man’s questioning of the why and 
wherefore of life. 

I cared little for the theory of Impressionism; the methods 
of Seurat, Signac and von Rysselbergh seemed to me too 
doctrinaire to capture the dynamic character of nature. For 
what is technique but a net, laid to catch all the truth it will 
hold? and if the net be too apparent, truth that is shy and 
elusive is not to be caught. 

I have retained my faith in the significance of appearance, 
and the hope that at rare moments some of that ecstasy 
embodies itself in my work. Not that I think raw nature is 
good; but nature remains the greatest of all designers, re- 
solving her infinite detail into the austere lines of the hills, 
or the bewildering maze of branches into the simple contours 
of a tree. Man’s own sense of design is derived of necessity 
from hers. It is nonsense to talk of "mere realism’. Appear- 
ance is dynamic, not static; the clouds move across the 
heavens, trees bow before the wind, human features alter 
with every movement; the waves of the sea, the birds in 
their flight, the flowers bending in the field, change their 
forms from one moment to the next; each change makes a 
new rhythm, and without rhythm, an essential part of reality, 
the work of man’s hands is lifeless, and comes to naught. 




T he English Portraits duly appeared in book form; but Appearance 
there was no great demand for them. Only a propor- of ‘English 
tion of the edition of 750 copies was bound up. Later, most Portraits' 
of the remaining parts (they were first issued in paper covers, 
two at a time, like the Oxford portraits) were destroyed in a 
fire at Leightons’, the binders. Robert Bridges wrote me two 
kind letters from Yattendon. The first was dated April 9, 


‘I have owed you a letter for a long time, but this month 
I have been busier than ever. We have all been down in 
Cornwall, staying in a house on the Helford river W. of 
Falmouth. I don’t know if you know that country, the 
private houses are most of them (as ours was) built un- 
pretentiously sunk in the heads of the glens which run 
steeply down some 200 feet to the sea. In the glens anything 
will grow. In our garden the camellias were in profuse bloom, 
and rhododendrons and laurels. With all sorts of foreign 
greenery such as date-palms, treeferns and bamboos. This 
all means a very mild and moist climate, but we saw some 
of the snow and had a good deal of cold wind — also we all 
got influe nza, which has ravaged there this year, and it rather 
spoilt our time which I had intended to spend on the water. 

Fortunately the pest was only a thing of a few days, and we 
are now come home to be fixed at Yattendon. 

‘I was very busy all the month with some work which 
took all my attention, and this must excuse my silence. 


ment from 


I wrote no letters that I cd put off, and was lucky in getting 
through my work. 

‘I have to thank you for sending me the last number of 
the portraits. It is really very good of you to send them. 

I like to have them very much, but I don’t see that I deserve 
them: unl ess indeed I promised you to subscribe to the 
series. If so, please tell me. I wonder whether they sell well. 
It amuses me to see what sort of company I am in. I like 
your portrait of Gissing, he looks a very good fellow. I read 
only one of his books — because I didn’t much care for that, 
the manner of it, he seemed to be floundering in the mud, 
but I see it is not mentioned among his chefs d’oeuvre. As 
for the other man I have always considered him as a pre- 
tentious ass — but no doubt this is very wrong of me. Since 
your visit here Wm. Strang has sat in the study, and (at 
Binyon’s connivance) done an etching of me. Have you seen 
it? It seems to me a good piece of work, but whenever I 
venture to gaze upon your and his portraits of me, as 
I feel it is sometimes my duty to do, I find that I am quite 
a diff erent person from anything that I imagined. Now this 
sinks into my soul, and it shd affect my general views of life, 
and my poetry. 

‘I see that Frank Harris is writing on Shakespeare in the 
Saturday. All very good in its way, and shows an un- 
expectedly delightful appreciation of poetry, but his ex- 
planation is on the wrong lines. Shakespeare in characterising 
his people wished to make them interesting and beautiful, 
and the only reasonable course was to colour them with 
what he accounted most interesting and beautiful, F H thinks 
by noting the “unintentional”! predominance of certain 
colours to arrive at Shakespeare’s character or philosophy. 
Surely from the art of his ethic one may find the ethic of his 
art and no more? — But perhaps you haven’t read F. H. 

‘Your portrait of me was well received in America by a 
friend to whom I send it.’ 

The second letter, dated June 2, 1 898, came when the book 


‘I have duly received the completion of the E. Portraits, A comparison 
and am most grateful to you for the presentation. The book with Strang 
■will always be of value and interest. And this morning, with 
your letter, I have a copy of your portrait of Canon Dixon 
from him. I am framing it. I like it, but I shall not know how 
much, till I have had it by me for a while. It is certainly a 
good likeness, and one which I am extremely glad to possess. 

It seems to me that you are getting on well, and I shall expect 
you to become a master in a fine style of portraiture. Strang’s 
portrait of me had the disadvantage of not being very like 
me. My friends prefer yours, tho’ they all say that you have 
given me too much nose. 

‘Yeats I know. He has been here, and we want him here 
again — he is a true poet, and delightful company, but he is 
in great danger of fooling himself with Rosicrucianism and 
folk lore and erotical spiritualisms. It is just possible that 
he may recover — some of his work is of the very best, both 
poetry and prose. 

‘I was in town last week for one night, for a concert. 

I saw the “Milanese” pictures at the Burlington Fine Arts 
Club. There is a very fine Leonardo (?), a woman, pagan, 
with a wreath of flowers, belonging to Chas Morrison, worth 
going to see — with some other good things among a lot of 
school stuff. 

‘ The weather is miserable. I am sitting over a good fire — 
but the rain is not unwelcome if it wd only be warmer. If 
any time this Summer you can spare us a Sunday from 
London we shall be delighted to do our best to entertain you.’ 

I remember Oscar Wilde laughing when I told him that 
Robert Bridges alone had written me — that I rather expected 
to hear from others whose portraits appeared in the book. 

‘Simple 'Willi’ he said. But I have felt much in the same 
way over each book of the kind. 

After the English Portraits I published a set of portraits 
of younger men — Liber Jwuorum I called it. This portfolio 
of prints was distinguished for one thing — no single copy 
of it was sold. It contained prints of Beardsley, Binyon, 


‘ Liber Laurence Housman, Max Beerbohm, Yeats and Stephen 
Juniorum' Phillips. I find a letter from Arthur Symons, •with whom 
I evidendy discussed the collection : * I have been thinking 
over the Liber Juniorum and discussing it with Yeats, and we 
both strongly feel that Watson and Davidson should certainly 
form part of it. Why not then a dozen somewhat thus: 

1. Watson 5. Horne 9. Housman 

2. Davidson 6 . Savage 10. Stephen Phillips 

3. F. Thompson 7. Lionel Johnson 11. Binyon 

4. Yeats 8. Dowson 12. A. S. 

‘ This at once gives more weight, and allows more chance 
for the one or two names which we think interesting but 
editors may not. 

‘I find I have forgotten Max. I fear Dowson or Binyon 
might have to go if you want the dozen/ 

Housman was Laurence, not his brother A. E.; I wonder 
what the present juniors think of the list. 

The Liber Juniorum was followed by a French set which 
hadlitde more success — Legros, Fantin-Latour and Rodin — 
a companion to the Three Portraits of Verlaine which Hacon 
and Ricketts issued from the Vale Press, every copy of which 
was subscribed; for 1898 was a busy year. 

These portraits, like the English Portraits, were, as might 
be expected, of unequal quality. The success of a portrait 
drawing depends on many fortuitous things, on the quality 
of paper and chalk, on the artist’s mood at the time, but 
mostly on the sitter. For the sitter helps to make or mar his 
own portrait; some, the moment they pose, excite one’s 
pencil; others paralyse the will; some, again, cannot keep 
a pose, while others, especially old people, must be kept 

Sometimes, too, one is tempted to talk, and talking while 
at work has spoilt many a drawing. Men, equally with 
women, wish to appear other than they are — the mirror 


■won’t lie, but the artist may be persuaded; yet if he com- 
promises over form, his drawing suffers. Englishmen es- 
pecially seem ashamed of their features; foreigners seem less 
sensitive about supposed defects. I have noticed too that 
men who affect to admire Holbein or Rembrandt are often 
shocked at a faithful presentment of themselves. Great works 
of art rarely affect their possessor’s taste. What pictures have 
I not been asked to admire in the boudoir, in houses where 
Rembrandt and Bellini hang in the drawing room! 

O collectors, O museum directors and other experts, your 
familiarity with art, the complacency and familiarity with 
which you speak of masterpieces, sometimes make me long 
to say ‘ Down on your knees ’ before a work even by a good 
living artist. The essential difference between the artist and 
the student of art lies in this : the artist is, above all other men, 
a man of action. For he acts each day without any action 
being demanded of him; and the act of creation calls for 
supreme energy, will and sustained effort; and this not for 
days, but for weeks, months, years — in fact for a lifetime. 
In comparison with this exercise of will, how rarely is the 
so-called man of action required to exercise all his faculties. 
It is not appreciation nor industrious scholarship; it is 
creative energy alone which keeps beauty immortal. To 
know about things is less difficult than to do them. 

Collectors and 




Fitzroy Street Tn 1899 m Y brother Albert came to London; he also was to 
1 enter the Slade School. He was 16, the age at which I too 
left Bradford. I found a room for him at Mackmurdo’s house 
in Fitzroy Street. Fitzroy Street was then a fashionable un- 
fashionable artists’ quarter; Whistler’s studio was in Fitzroy 
Street; Sickert was shordy to migrate there. Brangwyn had 
until lately a studio in Mackmurdo’s house; it was an Adams 
house, with large lofty rooms. Selwyn Image and his wife 
now had rooms there; so had Henry Carte and his son 
Geoffrey. They all had meals together at an ancient oak table, 
without a cloth, of course; in the middle stood a plaster 
figure, and four bowls of bay which, I noticed, were covered 
with dust. Mackmurdo believed in the simple life. He was 
also very unworldly, and had let a room to my brother, and 
to someone else, at the same time. This was awkward for 
each of the tenants ; Mackmurdo saw this, too, and in the end 
my brother got the room to himself. 

My brother soon became a favourite at the Slade; Brown, 
Tonks and Steer thought his work promising. He often 
spoke of two of his fellow-students who had entered the 
Slade before him, who drew, he said, like the old masters: 
John and Orpen were their names. I thought the praise was 
excessive, but was curious about them, so he brought them 
to see me. Orpen, a young Irishman, was small and shy, 
spoke little, called me ‘sir’, and looked long and carefully at 


my paintings. He had grey eyes, thin rather sunken cheeks, 
and thick brown hair, and he wore a light jacket, cut round 
at the neck, with no lappels— the kind of jacket engineers 
buy in the East End. Orpen was my brother’s particular 
friend. John was a more arresting figure; he looked like a 
young fawn; he had beautiful eyes, almond-shaped and with 
lids defined like those Leonardo drew, a short nose, broad 
cheek-bones, while over a fine forehead fell thick brown 
hair, parted in the middle. He wore a light curling beard (he 
had never shaved) and his figure was lithe and elegant. I was 
at once attracted to John. He brought me his drawings, 
which were truly remarkable; so remarkable that they put 
mine, and Shannon’s too, into the shade. Here was some one 
likely to do great work; for not only were his drawings of 
heads and of the nude masterly; he poured out compositions 
with extraordinary ease; he had the copiousness which goes 
with genius, and he himself had the eager understanding, the 
imagination, the readiness for intellectual and physical ad- 
venture one associates with genius. A dangerous breaker 
of hearts, he would be, I thought, with his looks and his 
ardour. He talked of leaving the Slade, and was full of plans 
for future work; but he was poor and needed money for 
models. I showed his drawings to Sargent, Furse, Conder 
and Harrison; Furse chose a number of his drawings, but 
was taken aback when John asked £2. for each of his nudes. 
This seemed a modest price, but Furse hadn’t expected a 
student to ask so much. Frederick Brown and Harrison 
bought drawings too, and John was able to take a small 

John sometimes came with a friend, Ambrose McEvoy, 
who had recendy left the Slade, and was now copying a 
Titian in the National Gallery. McEvoy’s father had been 
in the Confederate army, and was a friend of Whisder. While 
John was influenced by Watteau and Rembrandt, McEvoy 
was more in sympathy with the early Italians and the English 
Pre-Raphaelites. He looked like a Pre-Raphaelite, with his 
strikingly large eyes in a long, angular face; and he spoke in 


John and Orpen 
at the Slade 

‘ The Three an odd, cracked voice. I used to call John, Orpen and my 
Musketeers’ brother Albert the Three Musketeers; they were always to- 
gether. Not content with working all day, they used to meet 
in some studio and draw at night. They picked up strange 
and unusual models; but I was shy, after seeing John’s 
brilliant nudes, of drawing in his company. It was stupid of 
me to feel so; I would have done well to practise drawing 
too at night. John drew nudes as no one, I thought, had 
drawn them in England, and his drawings of heads were 
remarkably fine. John’s sister Gwen, a Slade student too, 
was also very gifted, and round these two a brilliant circle 
of young women gathered: Edna Waugh (now Mrs 
Clarke Hall), Mary Edwards, who married McEvoy, Grace 
Westry, Ida Nettleship, who became John’s wife, Louise 
Salaman, Ursula Tyrwhit and Gwen Salmond (now Mrs 
Mathew Smith). All these fair ladies sat to John — Edna 
Waugh and Ida Netdeship most often; and John did their 
beauty full justice. Orpen, too, was a brilliant draughtsman; 
Conder preferred Orpen’s work to John’s, while for me 
John’s drawings had more magic. John’s intellect, too, was 
subde and complex. He found strange people, men and 
women, whose surprising character or beauty he revealed in 
his drawings. At the Slade John was the dominating figure; 
whatever style he adopted, whether that of Rubens, Michael 
Angelo, Rembrandt or Watteau, it was imitated by all the 
students. Later Tonks was to develop a more thorough and 
scientific method than John’s; but at this time John’s in- 
fluence was paramount. 

Tonks had a story that John was quiet, methodical and by 
no means remarkable when he first came to the Slade. Then, 
while diving at Tenby (his native town) he struck his head 
on a rock, and came out of the water — a genius ! Tonks and 
Steer were rather critical of John’s ‘genius’. For Moore 
didn’t wear his hair long; nor did Sargent, nor indeed did 
either Tonks or Steer. Let an artist’s work be remarkable; 
but he himself in their view should pass unnoticed. I thought 
John’s appearance was splendid, and I didn’t want him to 


look otherwise. Long hair, shabby clothes, even affectation Cleanliness 

may protect an artist from idle, or so-called fashionable, of artists 

people. When an artist goes into their world, he risks his 

pride and integrity. Better remain unwashed, than be wasted 

on fools; better spend his evenings in cafes, than waste 

them on lionising hostesses. How profound is Max’s story 

of Maltby haunted by the ghost, not of someone long dead, 

but of his own snobbishness ! It is well for the artist, like 

Balzac, to remain aloof until his work has earned him a 

secure position in any company. 

But at this time there seemed little prospect of John being 
lionised. He and Orpen had discovered a troupe of street 
acrobats, among which was a strange, fascinating young girl. 

She might have walked out of the pages of Heine’s Florentine 
Nights , so illusively attractive was she. John and Orpen 
made many drawings of her, then she disappeared, like 
De Quincey’s Anne, and they never saw her again. 

Through Miss Terry, Henry Irving and the Trees, I got 
many tickets for first nights in those days, and saw many 
plays. When Pinero’s Trelawny of the Wells was put on at 
the Court Theatre, I went with Sickert to see this enchanting 
piece. Here was a play which seemed written for our delight. 

What fun it all was; and how enchanting the costumes! and 
such a chance it provided that Sickert asked Miss Hilda 
Spong — a magnificent creature who acted a part — to sit for 
him; while I approached Irene Vanbrugh. Miss Vanbrugh 
took infinite trouble, and endured many sittings. Sickert had 
Miss Spong photographed, and from a small print and with 
few sittings he achieved a life-size portrait. Miss Vanbrugh’s 
portrait I sent to the first exhibition of the International 

This new society was started under Whistler’s Presidency. 

A committee was formed, with Alfred Gilbert as Chairman; 

Guthrie, Lavery, Strang, Ricketts, Shannon, besides myself, 
were among those invited to serve. Gilbert was charming 
and considerate, and all went well until Whistler wrote 
from Paris proposing that Pennell and Ludovici should be 


The International co-opted on to the Executive. Ricketts and Shannon objected ; 

Society Pennell was then writing art criticism for The Star under the 
initials A. U., which stood for 'Artist Unknown 5 (I used to 
say that his nom de plume would serve as his epitaph), and 
neither he nor Ludovici was taken seriously as an artist. But 
they were both his faithful followers, and Whistler insisted; 
the committee gave way, and I left with Ricketts and 
Shannon. Later Ricketts and Shannon returned, and became 
the most active and influential members of the Society. 

It was to be a brilliant affair — Degas, Rodin and all the 
best foreign artists were to be invited to send works. The 
ice-skating rink at Knightsbridge, which was the most 
fashionable meeting-place of the day, was to be transformed 
into a gallery. Admiral Maxse, the hero of Meredith’s Harry 
Richmond. , who was closely associated with the skating rink, 
was enthusiastic about the exhibition. 

The first exhibition was certainly a remarkable one. 
Whistler showed some of his latest paintings: The Black- 
smith , and The Rose of Lyme Regis . There was a collection 
of Degas’ work, and many other important French paintings. 
The success of the show was largely due, I think, to Francis 
Howard. There was to be an illustrated catalogue; but this 
was held up because one of Degas’ paintings was reproduced 
before his permission had been obtained. Hearing of this he 
refused to sanction any such reproduction. Lavery wrote to 
me c unless Degas’ permission is got the plate and all the 
prints that have been done from it will have to be destroyed. 
It occurred to me that as you are a personal friend, you 
might see him and use your influence. I am sure he need only 
know that the thing is an affair of the artist and not of the 
dealer or middle-man, to give his consent.’ When I next saw 
Degas he was furious, not so much about the reproduction, 
but because works of his had been exhibited against his wish. 
For Degas had a rooted objection to showing at current 
exhibitions. He advised me, too, to refrain from doing so. 

' Show in colour shops, in restaurants — anywhere but at the 
brothels that picture shows are , 5 he advised me. 



Neither Steer nor Sickert showed at the International. 
Meanwhile Sickert was becoming more and more es- 
tranged from Whistler. He found occasion for an attack on 
Pennell, who called his drawings, made on transfer paper, 
true lithographs. Whistler chose to regard Sickert’s com- 
ments on Pennell as a veiled onslaught upon his own 
methods. He saw his chance, and induced Pennell to bring 
an action for libel against Sickert. Sickert’s attack on Pennell 
had appeared in The Saturday Review , and Frank Harris 
promised to stand by Sickert and see him through. I at once 
offered Sickert my support, knowing that this action might 
well spell financial ruin in his case. Though my early 
drawings had been done directly on the stone, the greater 
number of my lithographed portraits were drawn on transfer 
paper, and I knew what risk I ran as a witness. 

Soon after proceedings were instituted a telegram came 
from Whistler, asking me to go and see him in his studio in 
Fitzroy Street. When I got there Whistler talked for some 
time about things in general and then suddenly said: ‘What 
is this I hear, Parson, that you are going to be on the wrong 
side?’ I explained that I was devoted to Sickert, that he was 
an old and close friend; that he, Whistler, was a powerful 
person needing no support, and that I felt it right to do 
everything possible for Sickert. Whistler, forgetting that he 
was trying to ruin Sickert, suddenly became jealous. ‘But 
I have known Walter longer than you have,’ he drawled. 

When the case came on, Sir Edward Clarke was counsel 
for Pennell. Among Sickert’s witnesses was George Moore. 
He had begged to be allowed to give evidence, but never did 
anyone cut so poor a figure in the witness-box. When he was 
pressed regarding his knowledge of lithography he was com- 
pletely at a loss. Finding nothing to say he at last stammered : 
‘ But I have known Degas.’ He was of little use I fear to 
Sickert. I was called later and severely questioned by Clarke; 
finally he handed me a set of my Oxford Characters and 
asked what I called them. I said that I had called them 
lithographs, but in the true sense of the word they were 

337 22 

Pennell v. 


Judgment for lithographed drawings, and that is how I should have de- 
Pennell scribed them. Pennell says in his Life of Whistler that I fell 
over my hat as I left the box. 

During his cross-examination, Sickert suavely admitted 
that there was a spice of malice in his article. Clarke, satisfied 
with this, at once sat down. Pennell won his case and Harris, 
true to his word, stood most of the racket. Sickert, though 
his share of the expenses took most of his capital, bore no 
malice against Pennell; and Whistler was so pleased with 
winning the case — he considered it his case — that he too 
forgot the affront. I dined with him shortly afterwards — he 
was radiant. Helleu and little Jonathan Sturges were of the 
party. Returning with me, Sturges talked with enthusiasm 
of Whistler. ‘You never get to the end of his knowledge,’ 
he said. ‘ Why, Jimmy never let on to me that he was a 
classical scholar; yet there he is, he knows everything; did 
you notice during dinner, he said “hinc illae lachrymae”? 
amazing ! Amzzing ! ’ 

But this was, I think, the last time I was Whistler’s guest. 
Some time afterwards Sir William Eden decided to sell a 
part of his collection of modern paintings and drawings 
at Christie’s; among these were several by Sickert, Steer, 
Conder and myself. Steer was somewhat alarmed at our 
works coming up at Christie’s. He knew that they would 
fetch insignificant sums; he thought Eden should be asked 
to put a small reserve on our work. Eden agreed, and Steer 
and I went to Christie’s to meet him. While we were talking 
with Eden, Whistler came into Christie’s, put up his eye- 
glass, stared hard at us, and then turned his back. We were 
seen in Eden’s company ; therefore we had become ‘ enemies ’. 
There were limits to the price one should pay for Whistler’s 
friendship. I felt that explanation would be useless and un- 
dignified. I never saw Whistler again. 




I never cared much for my studio in Chelsea, and before A garden of 
the end of the year i898IfoundasmallhouseinKensington my own 
which pleased me, with a tiny cottage — a relic of the time 
when Kensington was a village — at the end of the garden. 

I went to see the landlord, a shrunken little man, wearing 
stays and high-heeled shoes, a person of startling appearance, 
but otherwise sordid and commonplace. The rent of the house 
was modest, only £50 a year, and I succeeded in getting the 
cottage, which was to be my studio, for fzo more. I was 
delighted with the garden: a garden of one’s own in London, 
however small, is a precious thing. The little house was just 
offEdwardes Square; the houses there were built by French 
prisoners during the Napoleonic wars, I had heard. 

Opposite to me lived J. R. Lorimer, and a few doors away 
Andrew Bradley lodged; and nearby Henry Ford, the illus- 
trator of Andrew Lang’s fairy books, and Adrian Stokes and 
his Austrian wife occupied studios in the Square. In Pem- 
broke Gardens lived Mrs Sickert, Walter’s mother, with 
her sons, Bernard, Oswald, Robert and Leonard. Old Mr 
Sickert, a good, solid painter, well trained and efficient, as 
artists were in his time, had come to England from Munich 
with his young wife and family. Mrs Sickert was English, 
but she had acquired the kindly, patient, South-German 
ways. She was proud of her sons, and, happily for me, 
affectionately disposed towards their friends. Her house was 
full of her late husband’s pictures; there was a portrait of old 



Artists in Mr Sickert by Scholderer, which I greatly admired, and a 
low water life-size painting of Walter as a child, by Fiissli (a grandson 
of old Fuseli) and a later, very ideal looking, portrait of 
Walter with long, fair hair, by his father, I think. A few 
doors away lived the Mackails; in Earl’s Terrace were the 
Henry Newbolts, while on the other side of the High Street 
was Pringle Nichol (the son of Swinburne’s old friend, John 
Nichol) who, but for his inveterate idleness, should have 
made his mark as a writer. So I didn’t mind leaving Chelsea, 
having pleasant neighbours enough in Edwardes Square. 
Here I began a self-portrait, and got John to come and sit for 
a painting. 

I became more and more attached to John, and to his 
wonderful intellect, superior in its range to that of anyone 
else I knew. While his drawings and pastels got better and 
better, his painting was still uncertain; he found it difficult to 
control his palette, but now and again he gave promise of 
astonishing genius. And what a draughtsman he was ! Yet 
it was hard to persuade collectors to buy his drawings. It was 
not so much the indifference of the critics, of artists and col- 
lectors that angered me, as their constant assertion that John 
couldn’t draw, that his work was ‘ugly’. These lovely things 
badly drawn and ugly! were people blind? So John often 
needed his friends’ help : 

‘ Its very nice of you to remember my penury. I’ve eva- 
cuated my kopje in Charlotte Street, trekked and laagered up 
at the above; strongly fortified but scantily supplied. 
Generals Lawrence & Young hover at my rear. With your 
timely reinforcement I hope to hold on till next Friday when 
the home supplies are due. The garrison in excellent spirits.’ 

And Sickert too found it hard to live. He was now living 
at Dieppe, working on small canvases and panels, which he 
sold with difficulty, and for such small prices, that when he 
sent over a number to Carfax, and Sir William Eden offered 
£20 for three of his paintings, Sickert pressed us to accept. 
Yet Sickert knew the value of his work well enough: ‘I wish 
you could see my table piled up with drawings of music- 


halls, etc. Funny to think of a S drawing, and one Degas hard 

of mine, and their relative importance.’ And again he wrote : at work 
‘I want another fortnight here to finish 4 or 5 pictures as 
good as Nodes Amhrosianae , only red and blue places, 
instead of black ones : The Eldorado, The Gaiete Roche- 
chouart, the Theatre de Montmartre.’ The Nodes Am- 
Irosianae long hung at Carfax, priced at £40. But no one 
grumbled less than Sickert. His letters are full of fun, and 
of plans for his future and for mine. T think we might 
follow the Ricketts and Shannon plan and mutually confide 
in each other our poor opinion of all but ourselves,’ he 
wrote. ‘ I do wish you well, de Ion cceur. Partly affection, 
partly because you are so small and so devilish earnest, 
partly because of the tetes your success will make to all the 
other damned fools.’ 

Whenever Sickert went to Paris, he saw Degas. ‘ I wish 
you could see what Degas is doing now. He asked affection- 
ately after you, in spite of his Judenhet^e monomania. His 
work seems to me absolutely sublime. He is doing some 
things on a large scale.’ And again: ‘Degas and others; we 
talked of you. I told Stchoukine you were doing an etude sur 
Goya and would like to see his pictures. Degas said “Vous 
etes heureux de colliger les Espagnols, parce que il n’y en a 
pas.” Quel dommage, he said of Whistler, qu’un peintre si 
fin soit double d’un “humbug”, using the English word.’ 

Sickert used to see Whistler at Dieppe, in the Grande Rue, 

‘looking very well and very dignified’ or else lunching at 
Lefevre’s, where he was also painting a little panel, sending 
constantly for Arnold Hannay to come and talk to him. But 
of Conder, Sickert disapproved. * Conder I think has dis- 
appeared, which relieves me. I can’t drink and I am a snob. 

Whistler’s doctor has forbidden him to paint out of doors, 
has told him it is at the risk of his life. He gets such attacks 
of influenza. Poor old Jimmy. It was all such fun 20 years 

Of his troubles Sickert said but little. But Jacques Blanche 
wrote, while we were at Vattetot: 


News of Sickert 

Chateau du Fosse 
par Farges-les-Eaux , 
Seine Infre. 

z^juillet 99. 

Cher Rothenstein 

Je vous sais, comme moi-meme, ami et tres ami de notre 
charmant Walter Sickert et je vous demande la permission de 
venir vous parler de lui. Vous savez sans doute qu'il a passe 
un mois a Auteuil avec nous; il est arrive dans un eta t de 
depression morale et physique, tout a fait deplorable et je 
Tai vu de si prh^ qu’il me semble mieux le connaitre et 
pouvoir le soutenir 

Walter est un vrai enfant, sous certains rapports pratiques, 
et je crains beaucoup qu'il ne se fixe a Dieppe et s’y enlise, 
comme dans un sable profond.. . .Jel’ai engage a venir passer 
plusieurs mois chez moi. J’essaierai de lui faire faire une 
exposition chez Bernheim ou Durand-Ruel: il a beaucoup de 
talent, quand il ne se lance pas dans de trop grandes toiles. 
Son affaire, c’est de legeres esquisses dans de petits panneaux. 
Il est ne pour mettre de jolis tons sur un dessin rapide et 
nerveux. N 3 est~ce pas? 

Je sens que tout ce que je vous ecris vous le savez aussi 
bien que moi — excusez-moi done. Mais, voici ce que je 
viens vous demander plus specialement: e'est d'entretenir 
autour de lui le mouvement de sympathie et d'interet de vos 
amis d’Angleterre, afin qu’il ne se croie pas abandonne 

Ecrivez-moi et dites-moi ce que vous pensez de tout ceci. 

J’espere que vous etes content de Vattetot et que vous y 
faites de belles etudes. Je voudrais bien pouvoir vous voir 
et parler d’art avec vous. Nous avons souvent cause de vous, 
avec Walter, a Paris, et je sais comme nous nous entendrions 
bien sur les choses qui nous passionnent. 

Bien a vous, 


I knew something of Sickert's difficulties; apparently so 
gay, he went through dark hours. 



Conder, too, wrote often from Paris, hoping that I would Treasures at 
help him to sell his work. He wanted to marry, and badly Lewes House 
needed money. 

I could do little to help all these gifted men; indeed, I 
found it difficult to keep my own head above water; but 
about this time I met a young archaeologist, John Fothergill, 
who was working with Edward Warren, a distinguished 
Bostonian, a classical scholar who translated Pindar, and 
collected gems and Greek sculpture, both for himself, for he 
was wealthy, and for the Boston Museum. Fothergill was 
the youngest of Warren’s fellow archaeologists, who lived 
with him at Lewes House. 

Lewes House was a monkish establishment, where women 
were not welcomed. But Warren, who believed that scholars 
should live nobly, kept an ample table and a well stocked 
wine-cellar; in the stables were mettlesome horses, for the 
Downs were close at hand, and he rode daily with his friends, 
for the body must needs be as well exercised as the mind. 

Meals were served at a great oaken table, dark and polished, 
on which stood splendid old silver. The rooms were full of 
handsome antique furniture, and of Greek bronzes and mar- 
bles in place of the usual ornaments. In the garden was the 
famous Ludovisi throne — fellow of that whereon Venus is 
seen to rise from the sea — which, by hook or by crook — 
rather, I think, by crook — had been smuggled out of Italy. 

There was much mystery about the provenance of the 
treasures at Lewes House. This secrecy seemed to permeate 
the rooms and corridors, to exhaust the air of the house. 

The social relations, too, were often strained, and Fothergill 
longed for a franker, for a less cloistered life. 

Fothergill was not well off; but he was extremely generous, 
and of an adventurous spirit. Fired by the example of Hacon 
and Ricketts, he proposed to start a small gallery, where 
Conder’s, John’s, Sickert’s, Orpen’s, Max Beerbohm’s and 
my work could be constandy shown; a gallery in fact that 
would be a centre for work of a certain character. I was to 
be responsible for the choice of artists, Arthur Clifton for the 


Better days for business side. Premises were found in Ryder Street, St 
Conder James’s, and Robert Sickert, a younger brother of Walter, 
acted as manager, as Holmes did for Ricketts and Shannon. 

I told Rodin in Paris about this new venture; he was 
warm in support, and sent over the collection of his early 
drawings, of which I spoke before, and some small bronzes. 
Walter Sickert too was enthusiastic, and wrote constantly, 
offering help, and advice. 

Besides Rodin, Conder, John, Orpen, Max Beerbohm and 
I in turn had exhibitions at Carfax (for so the firm was 
named) ; while Conder, who there did better than ever before, 
proposed that Carfax should take all his paintings on silk, as 
in fact we did; and for the first time in his life Conder was 
assured of a regular source of income. I persuaded him, too, 
to try lithography — his pencil drawings had the quality of 
lithographs — and he made a number of admirable drawings, 
mostly illustrating Balzac, on transfer paper. He wrote me 
from Stafford Terrace: ‘My dear Will, I am sending 2 litho- 
graphs for the Balzac series. I hope you will like them & 
accept them. Two represent “Beatrix” with Calyste & with 
Conti — & the third “Esther” which I like the best — the two 
figures with the cliff behind seems to be the favourite on 
account of the languishing look in the young gentleman’s 
eyes. I heard from your wife & it seems you are doing well, 
and have got your hand in (lucky man.) I find lithography 
very hard, but most interesting — If you find the “ Conti & 
Beatrix” too slight I can touch it up with chalks. I send it 
because it shows more power & less difficulty than the two 
others. However, dear Will, I suppose you must be the 
judge. Yours always — C. Conder. 

If you like the lithographs, please send a cheque or write 
to Clifton at once, because I am hard up again. C. C.’ 

These lithographs, and others he did, were remarkable. 
Carfax took them all, and Conder began to feel his feet in 
England. For a while all went well. Then I heard that 
Conder, knowing that Carfax had to ask considerably more 
for his fans and silk panels than they paid him (for only a 


proportion of what he did found buyers) told someone (he My marriage 
could not have been sober at the time) that I had induced 
him to sign an agreement with Carfax while he was drunk. 

This cruel statement made me furious, and I hurried to 
Bramerton Street, where Conder was living, and so angry 
was I that I seized Conder — a much stronger and heavier 
man — and threw him down. He complained of my attacking 
him thus at his own place; I replied that I could not well have 
invited him to come to mine in order to assault him. Conder 
did finally confess the baselessness of his accusation. But for 
long I could not forgive him, and this unpleasant experience 
showed me there was something equivocal in my position, 
and I was sorely troubled : I must at all costs withdraw from 
Carfax. Fortunately Robert Ross was willing to take over 
the business, when I was relieved from an irksome engage- 
ment; while Fothergill, who got his capital back, lost nothing 
by his enterprise. Carfax had been of notable assistance to all 
concerned, to John and Conder especially. Under Ross’s 
and Arthur Clifton’s able management, Carfax, while it con- 
tinued to encourage young artists, became a serious business ; 
for Ross and Clifton acquired and sold many interesting 
works, of which the most important was Rembrandt’s 
Polish Rider. But I am anticipating; for my quarrel with 
Conder, and my leaving Carfax, happened later. 

In the spring of 1899 Conder, Max Beerbohm, Robert 
Ross and my brother Albert accompanied me to the Kensington 
Registrar to witness my marriage to Alice Knewstub. Among 
the presents we were given was a water-colour from Walter 
Crane, of Pent Farm, which, two or three years later, became 
the home of J oseph Conrad. In the letter which Crane wrote 
to my wife there is a reference to Kent coal, a menace which 
then seemed negligible, but which has now, alas! become 
real enough. 


in France 

13 Holland St. 

Kensington , W. 

Feb : 7 1900. 

My dear Mrs Rothenstein, 

I have long wished to make you some little present on 
your marriage, & if you will not think it too belated I want 
you to accept the little water-colour landscape I remember 
you so much liked when you saw it here soon after it was 
done. It may also serve as a little memento of Pent Farm & 
your visit to us there. 

In sending a picture to an artist’s house one is perhaps 
running the risk of supplying ‘coals to Newcastle’ — but this 
at any rate is coal from Kent & I trust its fields will never be 
defaced by the real article. This sample if it will not feed the 
fire carries I hope some suggestion of the warm days; &, 

1 trust, of a friendship, & wishes for the happiness & the 
prosperity of you & your husband in which, of course, my 
wife joins, from 

Yours very truly 


As Miss Alice Kingsley she was then playing at Her 
Majesty’s Theatre, with Herbert Tree, in The Three Muske- 
teers. She obtained two weeks’ leave, and she and I went off 
to Dieppe, where Walter Sickert met us. He had taken 
rooms for us at Lefevre’s : ‘ Comfort and luxury at 8 francs 
a head exclusive of wines, which, excellent, is to be had at 

2 francs a bottle. Position dignified, carrying social prestige 
at Dieppe. I will be on the quay, and on the quay-vive.’ 
Sickert lodged just outside Dieppe, in the house of a fishwife, 
a handsome woman, full of life and good sense, with auburn 
hair brushed away from a broad and intelligent brow, who 
looked after Walter like a mother. 

We did not tarry long in Dieppe, but mounting our 
bicycles (which we had brought with us) said farewell to 
Sickert, and rode down the coast towards Etretat. We were 
on the look out for a place where I could paint in the summer, 



and passing through Cany, this seemed a promising spot ; but 
farther down the coast we found a still likelier place, Vattetot, 
a village near the sea, where was an inn which had once been 
a farm, with a large bassecour. Nearby was a small house, 
with an odd little staircase leading upstairs from the single 
sitting room, with which we fell in love; so we rented it then 
and there for the summer. 

On our return to London we spoke of Vattetot to John 
and Conder, who, with Orpen and my brother, proposed to 
join us there next summer. When the summer came, it was 
a large party which descended upon Vattetot; never had so 
many easels and paint-boxes been seen. It was a glorious 
time, divided between painting and play. Being in France, 
we must needs look like Frenchmen. At Yport, two miles 
away, lived a tailor, who sold corduroy and a coarse blue 
linen, such as the fishermen wear in those parts. The corduroy 
took John’s fancy, and he presently appeared, a superb figure, 
in a tight jacket and wide pegtop trousers; so superb that 
I painted him standing beside my wife, my wife sitting on 
the staircase I mentioned earlier. 

The village of Vattetot was uninteresting enough; but 
all about were farms, each with its bassecour and orchard, en- 
closed by double or triple rows of trees, to keep out the cold 
winds. Some of the farms were old, as were the bams and 
byres, and of these John and Orpen made many charming 
studies; but John did no painting, though his landscape 
drawings were remarkable. Many artists can draw figures 
efficiently, but few can draw landscapes well. But everything 
John did bore the mark of genius. In his actions as well he 
showed a Byronic recklessness ; as when one day he suddenly 
leapt into a bucket that was wound to the top of a very deep 
well; he went down with a rush; it was all we could do to 
haul him up again. He was a fearless swimmer, and would 
swim out to sea until he appeared a mere speck in the dis- 
tance; and never, I thought, had I seen so fawn-like a figure 
as when John ran naked along the beach. Orpen, too, was 
as powerful a swimmer as John, though less reckless. 


John down 
a well 

Illness and John, Orpen, and my brother Albert would sit long with 
recovery Conder listening to his stories; though Orpen would steal 
away, for he loved his work, and was ambitious, I saw, to 
perfect himself. He was quiet and uncommunicative, and 
very modest. Conder loved to influence young men; he 
liked their company, and when he sat over his wine, was loth 
they should leave him. 

My wife’s sister Grace joined us at Vattetot later, with a 
girl friend; and when we went down to the sea the ladies 
undressed and dressed again in a cave under the cliffs. 
Envious coastguardsmen threatened action; we took no 
notice, however, and nothing happened, and we continued 
our pagan ways. At night, at the inn, Conder would sit 
drinking; he both charmed and frightened John and Orpen; 
and John would say that if ever he felt inclined to drink, 
what he had seen of Conder would be a warning. But we 
were young, and feckless, and in love with life. The young 
men, too, were in love with Grace ; and no wonder, for she 
was very beautiful. 

A strange looking group, without doubt, we would walk 
into Yport, Etretat or Fecamp, to invade the confectioners; 
never such patisserie , we thought, as we found there. And 
at night we would wander down to the sea, thinking our 
ladies, in the light of the moon, lovelier than ever; and we 
would bathe at the little cove at Vaucottes, and returning, 
the women would hang glow-worms in their hair. W onderful 
days and wonderful nights these were; but towards the end 
of the summer I fell ill. It was jaundice in a severe form; 
what made matters worse, I could not now finish my paintings 
as I wished to. But the autumn was coming on, the wind 
blew cold from the sea, and the party was breaking up. When 
I was fit to travel we went, John still with us, to spend a few 
days in Paris. John had never seen the Louvre; it was, for 
him, an overwhelming experience ; he was drunk with excite- 
ment. Puvis de Chavannes’ paintings, too, impressed him 
deeply; so did Daumier’s; and he 'was fascinated, of course, 
by the life at Montmartre. Oscar Wilde, who dined with us 


more than once, was greatly taken with John, though John Working in 
was very silent. Manchester 

On our return to London, I began to work on some small 
‘interior’ subjects. At the autumn exhibition of the New 
English Art Club, I showed some of the pictures I had 
painted at Vattetot; but I sold nothing there; and being now 
married, and no money coming in, I was hard put to it to 
continue even in the modest manner in which we were living. 

Charles Rowley, who visited us at Vattetot, proposed I should 
do a set of Manchester portraits; and hinted that, if I came 
to Manchester, other work would follow. My youngest 
sister, Louisa, had married a Manchester shipper, Louis 
Simon, and she and her husband invited us to stay at Sale, 
where they lived; so I accepted Rowley’s proposal. We 
offered our house until our return to John and his sister, who 
had comfortless quarters in Fitzroy Street, where Orpen too 
had a cellar-studio. Orpen was then painting a composition 
of the play scene in Hamlet , based on that of the Sadler’s 
Wells Theatre, a favourite resort at this time. He invited 
my criticism, and the advice I gave he deemed good, for he 
acted upon it, to the picture’s advantage, he agreed. For 
Orpen, at this early time, was an admirer of my work; and 
was perhaps rather a disciple of mine than of Brown or of 
Tonks, his professors. 

Manchester proved a disappointment. I made 12 litho- 
graphs of Manchester people, selected by Rowley; but no 
other commission followed. Indeed, I felt a slight sense of 
discomfort in Manchester, suspecting that Rowley had 
chosen himself and his friends to be drawn regardless of 
others, on which account he had kept my presence in Man- 
chester somewhat secret. Still, I enjoyed my job, and took 
pains to do the portraits as well as possible. 

A pleasant letter from Laurence Housman refers-to C. P. 

Scott, who was not on Rowley’s list of those to be drawn: 


The Gaskells 
and others 

77 York Mansions, 

Battersea Park, S. W. 

Oct. iSth 1900 

My dear Rothenstein, 

What a lot you get through in a little absence ! In addition 
to a violent attack of jaundice, I hear that matrimony is laid 
to your charge. You hid that event very much under a 
bushel and gave me no chance of sending congratulations 
beforehand. Let them come now and cling as lichen to the 
walls of your cottage! No doubt I ought to have guessed: 
no permanent bachelor raves over the perfection of a small 
seven-roomed tenement as you did in my hearing while 
setting eyes of first discovery on your present abode last 
year, standing in the middle of the road while you did so. 
Your wife should have seen that first bubbling of joy: it 
would have complimented her genuinely. 

I am glad Manchester receives you as well as me generously 
into its smoking bosom; are you to do local celebrities for it? 
In that case I suppose my Editor Mr C. P. Scott will fall a 
prey to you. 

Surely I sent you my address and a reiterated statement of 
my at home evening the 1 3 th. I find myself very comfortable 
thus far out of London; with a view that Corot at times 
might have died to look out upon: the loveliest thing I have 
seen in London in the way of woodland scenery. 

If your Wednesdays have not died with your bachelor- 
hood I will try to look in before many weeks are over. I too 
have been ill, and am aged greatly. 

Ever your 


Among my sitters were the Misses Gaskell, daughters of 
Charlotte Bronte’s biographer, who still lived in their parents’ 
house. The Gaskells put me in mind of the Michael Fields; 
for although not artists, like Miss Bradley and Miss Cooper 
they were fastidious in their speech and in the choice of their 
friends, and their outlook on life was sensitive and humane. 


The atmosphere of their house, too, had a quality and dis- A Quaker’s 

tinction that was uncommon in Manchester; and I still re- champagne 

member, with peculiar pleasure, the old-world ways, and the 

fine manners, of these grandes-dames de province. When the 

Europe we know is no more, will future historians recognise 

the fineness of the English character, so different in quality 

and texture from that of the rest of Europe, I sometimes 

wonder? I need not wonder, for the English character will 

survive in literature; and not in English literature alone, for 

English traits have been drawn faithfully by foreign writers. 

Yet I remember how I could never convince my fellow 
students in Paris that not all Englishwomen are hypocrites; 
and even now French friends are with difficulty persuaded 
that I know people I can trust completely. If Balzac drew a 
Lady Dudley in no favourable light, Theophile Gautier, in 
Jettatura , paid a generous tribute to the English character. 

I made other friends in Manchester, besides the Gaskells : 

Alfred Hopkinson, Oliver Elton, S. Alexander, and a cotton- 
spinner named William Simpson. William Simpson was a 
typical north country Quaker; grim-looking and spare of 
figure, with shaven upper lip, stiff beard, and thick, up- 
standing head of hair. Stern and uncompromising in his 
principles, he was, like many Quakers, successful in business. 

He employed 3000 men in his factory; and he and his family 
lived in a large house, surrounded by ample wooded grounds, 
an extravagance which sometimes troubled his conscience. 

When trade was bad, the care of all the men and women 
who worked in his mill weighed heavily on him. What 
would happen if things went ill, and he could no longer keep 
all his people employed? A friend, with whom he discussed 
his affairs, deemed him too austere in his dealings. 4 Clients 
expect to be treated well — champagne, and all that, you 
know.’ Such a notion had never entered Simpson’s mind; 
but trade being poor, Simpson, while travelling to London 
on business, thought over his friend’s advice; ‘I have never 
done such a thing, and I won’t begin,’ he said to himself. 

But early next morning a buyer called on him at his hotel; 


Uncomfortable Simpson, thinking of his 3000 ‘hands’, touched die bell; a 
tenants waiter came: ‘A bottle of champagne,’ said Simpson. His 
client stared, surprised: champagne at nine in the morning! 
The waiter returned with the champagne and two glasses; 
Simpson poured out a glassful; ‘What about yourself?’ said 
his guest. ‘Me!’ said Simpson, ‘I never touch the stuff.’ 
And Simpson could not understand why his client was 
offended. A judgment on his own backsliding ! never again ! 
A stem, simple, lovable man, whom everyone respected. 

Another of my sitters was a banker, T. R. Wilkinson, who 
so liked Germans (he had married a German wife) that he 
could never refuse them credit ; whereupon his partners offered 
him a handsome pension, to live in retirement. He was proud 
of a gifted son, Spenser W ilkin son. From his father, the 
managing director of the great firm of Rylands, whose 
founder had given the Rylands Library to Manchester, I 
heard of another son named Spenser, Spenser Baldwin, and 
thereafter both Spenser Wilkinson and Spenser Baldwin 
made some stir in the world; Manchester has proved a 
teeming womb of able men. We made many friends there, 
although in respect of money we were no better off for our 
visit. The twelve portraits, published by Sherrat and Hughes, 
were still-born, and decently buried, and soon forgotten. 

Before returning to Kensington we paid a visit to my 
parents at Bradford. There I fell ill with influenza. Before 
I had quite recovered, having to go to London for a night, 
I wired the Johns, who were still in our house, to expect me. 
For it was the middle of the winter; but when I reached 
Kensington I found the house empty and no fire burning. 
In front of a cold grate choked with cinders lay a collection 
of muddy boots. I managed to light a fire; and late in the 
evening J ohn appeared, having climbed through a window ; he 
rarely, he explained, remembered to take the house-key with 
him. There were none I loved more than Augustus and Gwen 
J ohn ; but they could scarcely be called ‘ comfortable ’ friends. 

The next evening I took train to Bradford, when an attack 
of earache gave me such excruciating torture that I doubted 


whether I could stay in the train. I was relieved with opium 
on reaching home, and still remember how devoudy I 
blessed the doctor who gave it. A second attack of influenza 
left me so weak, that I was ordered change of air for a month. 
Knowing litde of the west of England, we went to Glou- 
cester, and then to Bath; but so expensive did we find first 
the hotel, and then some lodgings we took, and so uneatable 
the food, that work in London seemed wiser than rest in 
Bath; and we returned home. My wife, who loved the Johns 
just as I did, declared that the walls must be whitewashed and 
the floors must be scrubbed before the little house would be 

Having finished John’s portrait, I showed it at the New 
English Art Club; and soon after came a letter from Lady 
Cromer asking me to paint her sister, Lady Beatrice Thynne; 
it was the portrait of John which had pleased her, she ex- 
plained, when she came with her sister to see me. I was eager 
to do justice to my new sitter, but my old failing, that of 
finding the best the enemy of the good, stood in my way. 
Why couldn’t I, like Orpen, discover a method which suited 
my gifts, and adopt it? But I couldn’t control my nerves; 
moreover, I felt the radiance and subtlety of women’s beauty 
too acutely to succeed. With a man to sit I went more 
vigorously to work, and forgot myself in concentrated 
attention. But if I painted a woman thus, her charm escaped 
me; so I worked hesitatingly, I lacked the courage to admit 
my failure, and too often wasted my sitters’ time, and my own. 

At Lady Bath’s house (Lady Bath was my sitter’s mother) 
was a drawing by Watts of Lady Bath herself; a drawing 
merely, yet a drawing which possessed the distinction of 
which our generation has lost the secret. I felt this again 
when I drew Lady Cromer; and my admiration for Watts 
was revived. 

I was, at this time and for long afterwards, strongly 
affected by Tolstoi’s writing. Lady Beatrice surprised me by 
her political knowledge: and while painting, when I should 
have resisted the temptation to talk, we would argue on 

353 *3 



Artists and various matters. How enlightened she and Lady Cro mer 
aristocrats were, and their sister as well, Lady Alice Shaw-Stewart, 
whom I met at the house of Lady Bath their mother. 

Lady Bath was a noble figure, a true grande dame , as much 
as any chevalier, sans peur et sans reproche. My socialistic 
friends spoke of the aristocracy as hard and corrupt, but 
with a delusive veneer of fine manners. Yet traditions which 
could mould a woman like Lady Bath must surely be part of 
a sound social system. Or else are charity, graciousness, 
reticence and exquisite consideration for the feelings of others 
of no account? Surely a life dedicated to the perfection of 
personal conduct is a life well spent. The artist, an amateur 
in life, perfects what he makes; the aristocrat makes of life 
itself a fine art. Of course there are aristocrats who are 
corrupt, selfish and even ill-mannered; are there not also 
vulgar and trivial artists ? It is, in fact, but a small number of 
scholars, of artists, of writers and musicians, and of aristo- 
crats likewise, which keeps true culture alive. Some form 
of aristocracy must always emerge from the mass. Among 
the middle class, and in America, we find an aristocracy of 
virtue; we see this among the Quakers and Dissenters in the 

But at this time I was, as I said, a Tolstoian. Long ago, 
as a child, at Scarborough, I had adored a young Evangelist, 
from Oxford or Cambridge, when I was convinced that my 
parents, who had not seen the light, must burn in everlast- 
ing fire; a fate which did not seem to disturb me much. 
Now I thought I must persuade Lady Bath’s footman, who 
took my hat and coat, that his task was unworthy of one 
who had a soul to save. But each time I changed my mind^ 
and followed him meekly up the stairs. 

As a painter too, I attempted what was beyond me, again 
and again. My wife wearied of sitting, so often did I scrape 
out a long day’s work. But somehow, something got done 
from time to time. I painted a portrait of my wife, and of 
her sister, Grace, in the sitting room of our little house; this 
picture I called The Browning Readers. 


When the summer came, we thought of bicycling abroad; 
where should we go? As usual we were drawn to France. 
John, who was away with Conder, wrote enthusiastically 
about Dorset — and a lady from Vienna ! 

c/o Mrs Everett , 

Pevril Tower , 



My dear Will — 

Conder is getting on with his decoration which becomes 
every day more beautiful. The country here is lovely beyond 
words. Corfe Castle and the neighbourhood would make 
you mad with a painter’s cupidity! How are you and Alice, 
how is she? I have started a colossal canvas whereon I depict 
Dr Faust on the Brocken. I sweat at it from morn till eve. 

Coggy 1 has gone back rubicond with health. Conder is 
his best self. I wish you were here too. 

There is here a beautiful Viennese lady who has sucked 
the soul out of my lips. I polish up my German lore. I spend 
spare moments striving to recall phrases from Ollendorf and 
am so grateful for your lines of Schiller which are all that 
remain to me of the Lied von der Glocke. 

Sometimes when I surprise myself not quite unhappy tho’ 
alone I begin to fear I have lost that crown of youth, the art 
of loving fanatically, I begin to suspect I have passed the 
virtues of juvenescence and that its follies are all that remain 
to me. 

Write to me my dear Will & tell me the news of the town, 
nay spare not those little intimacies which are the salt of 
friendships and the pepper of love. 

Love to Alice, who should be down here to play Upsy 
Daisy in the waves. Yours— John. 

Conder says he is writing in a day or two. 

1 Coggy was Miss Ferrier, a witty Scottish lady, who lived in 

A lady from 



Faust for But neither the beauty of Dorset, nor the charms of 
measles Vienna, prevented John from attacking a large canvas; what 
became of his Brocken picture — whether it got done or not, 
I do not remember. 

My brother Albert and Orpen were thinking of going to 
paint at Cany. John and Salaman decided to join us in 

My dear Will — 

Was glad to hear from you and to know you are getting 
on all right, you & your family — that is to say you & Alice 
and the picture — Tho’ indeed you spoke of them in a very 
cursory fashion. I’m sorry you are not down here — Tho’ 
for the moment it is just as well you are not for I have just 
had — what do you think — German Measles ! ! No I did not 
catch them in Vienna , — German Measles please — Conder 
had them some weeks ago. I had quite forgotten about it 
when I woke up one morning horrified to find myself struck 
of a murrain — I have been kept in ever since, shut off from 
the world. In the daylight it isn’t so bad but I dread the 
night season which means little sleep and tragic horrors of 
dreams at that. I mean in the day I work desperately at my 
colossal task; I can say at any rate Faust has benefited by 
my malady. In fact it is getting near the finish. There are 
about 17 figures in it not to speak of a carrion-laden gibbet. 
Yes, you have certainly urged me to attack great works — but 
I suppose we must wait the psychological moment. I don’t 
know when Salaman and I are going; he speaks of coming 
down here to carry me off by force ! Where are Albert & 

Orpen going then? writ e again to 

Yours John. 

How is Strang’s show going? 

Is your book out, do send a copy if it is. 

I had seen an illustrated article by Pennell in one of the 
American monthlies on a place, Le Puy, in which he sug- 
gested Auvergne as a centre for work. John, too, had heard 


of Le Puy, and we decided to meet there ; John, with Michel A goose-chase 
Salaman, a fellow student from the Slade and a patron of at Billy 
John, going to Le Puy by rail, while my wife and I, leaving 
the train at Nevers, mounted our bicycles, stopping to draw 
several places that attracted us on the way to Le Puy. 

The country was beautiful, and we passed through many 
charming villages, at one of which, Billy, a village near 
Vichy, we met with an amusing adventure. I had been 
drawing all day, and towards evening we put up at the village 
inn. After dinner the moon being full, we strolled out of 
doors, and returned to the place where I had been drawing. 

So magical everything looked in the moonlight, I took out 
my sketch book to draw, while my wife, talking softly, stood 
by. After a time she heard strange noises, she declared, and 
suddenly a gun went off, and an old woman, very scantily 
clad, ran out of a hovel near by, a strange Daumier-like 
figure, in the brilliant moonlight. She at once reappeared 
with a struggling goose in her arms, and made a rush for the 
hovel, where by now another old hag stood awaiting the 
result of her sortie. Then the door was slammed to, and from 
within we heard the cackle of the goose, and the no less 
excited cackle of the two old women. As we returned to the 
inn the street was full of awakened villagers; bad characters 
were about, had tried to steal a goose, and they looked at us 
with suspicion. Billy was a perfect place for an artist during 
the day; but not by moonlight it seemed. 

From Billy we went on to Auxerre, and from there to 
Clermont-Ferrand, whence we took train to Le Puy. As we 
approached the town, the place was surrounded with red- 
roofed villas, we found, and our hearts sank. Had we come 
so far to see this? But John and Salaman, whom we met at 
the station, reassured us, and indeed next morning,, as we 
climbed the steep street to the cathedral, we saw we had 
done well to come. What a church, and what fascinating 
streets and houses, and what wonderful people ! . 

It was the Feast of the Assumption, and sturdy women in 
white caps, wearing gold chains over their black bodices, and 


In Stevenson s wide, pleated skirts, their men in short, black coats and black 
footsteps broad-brimmed hats, were pouring into the cathedral, waiting 
to take Communion. I had seen nothing like die religious 
fervour of this Auvergne crowd, pressing up to the wide 
communion rail. 

I made many drawings of the cathedral, both inside and 
out, and many more of the streets of broad-eaved, tall, stone 
houses; of the cattle-market, too, where whiskered Auver- 
gnats brought their beasts for sale. There was a ruined casde 
a mile away, the chateau de Polignac, which meanwhile at- 
tracted John ; and every day we met at lunch in a vast kitchen, 
full of great copper vessels, a true rotisserie de la Reine 
Pedauque, presided over by a hostess who might have been 
mother to Pantagruel himself, so heroic in size she was, and 
of so genial and warm a nature; so generous, too, was her 
table, it reminded me of a jest of Oscar Wilde, made in reply 
to the cliche about enough being as good as a feast: ‘No,’ 
said Oscar, ‘ enough is as good as a meal ; too much is as good 
as a feast.’ S o each day, tempted and caj oled by our hostess, we 
ate and drank, and, thank Heaven, digested too, like heroes. 

The local guide-book led us to other places : Le Monastier, 
almost Spanish in its austerity, with a noble early church, 
and Notre Dame des Neiges, the monastery where Stevenson 
had stayed, and which he described in his book Travels -with a 
Donkey in the Cevennes. We stayed the night there, where 
each of us was lodged in a white-washed cell, spodessly clean ; 
and we joined the Brothers at table in the evening. If I re- 
member rightly, the monks were Trappists, to whom speech 
was forbidden ; but with the lay brothers one might talk, and 
we found there were still some among diem who remembered 
Stevenson’s visit. My wife stayed the night at a nunnery. 

In a shop at Le Puy we saw a photograph which struck 
us; it was taken, die shopman said, at Arlempdes, some miles 
away, and we set out to find it, no easy task. ‘ There were evil 
people at Arlempdes; better not go there,’ we were told 
when we enquired the way. But we persisted and at last 
drew near it along a lonely bypath. A remarkable place, 


truly, this small, rough hamlet, clustered round the ruins of A cures 
a tiny stronghold, set on a high rock sheer over the Loire, good wine 
with, nearby, the remains of a small, primitive chapel. While 
we were looking about, the cure approached — no strangers 
had ever come to Arlempdes, he said. He had never heard 
English spoken, nor indeed any foreign tongue. We enquired 
after an inn; there was no inn, he answered, nor could we 
get food anywhere in the village, so poor were his people; 
but if we could come to his vicarage in an hour’s time, 
he would kill a pigeon or two. We gratefully accepted 
his offer, and when we arrived there we found a table laid in 
his orchard, at which we seated ourselves, when soup was 
served, and then an omelette, baveuse , as only the French can 
prepare it, and then came the pigeons; while from the first 
a generous wine was offered, which our host enjoyed, it was 
evident, no less than ourselves; and seeing us appreciate his 
wine, from time to time he would leave the table and return 
with a bottle in either hand. This was true ‘ Vin de Cure’, he 
said, laughing ; for so good wine was called in those parts. He 
rarely met intelligent people, his parishioners were poor, 
ignorant folk, so this was a great day for him. Every three 
years they acted a Passion-play, he told us, but last year the 
fellow who played a Roman soldier had taken too much 
wine, and had really stabbed ‘ Jesus ’ in the side, and there was 
a scandal. And looking at John, seeing his long hair and 
russet beard, he was struck with an idea: ‘But you would 
make a perfect Jesus,’ he said; and the good cure called to 
his sister as she came from the kitchen, ‘Tell me, of whom 
does this gentleman remind you?’ ‘Mais — de Notre Sei- 
gneur,’ she answered in a matter-of-fact voice, rubbing her 
greasy hands on her apron. And the cure leaning back in his 
chair laughed till the tears came into his eyes. * What did 
I tell you?’ he said, ‘you must stay with us and play the 
part.’ But John, though flattered, had no desire to be 
martyred ; and our friend, unruffled, again disappeared, re- 
turning with two fresh bottles, heavily coated with dust. 

Never had we tasted so rare a wine. We left our host with 


John’s faith regret, and with difficulty persuaded him to accept a small 
in doubt sum for the trouble and expense to which we had put them 
both. ‘ Ce sera pour les pauvres,’ he said, as he bid us adieu. 
We laughed often over the way in which the good cure’s 
sister said ‘Mais, Notre Seigneur,’ and the memory of the 
joyous curd lingered long. My wife and I left Le Puy reluct- 
antly; but I wanted to make drawings elsewhere; so leaving 
John and Michel we pushed on to La Chaise-Dieu; then 
back through Burgundy, to places we had visited before. 
In answer to a letter from my wife, John wrote one of his 
wonderful letters : 

Cite Titaud. 

Dear Alice — 

Many thanks for your letter! A simple post-card from 
you would have been a delightfully gratifying thing — the 
work of Art you have sent me is an Event ! 

Really, you have troubled my peace with your golden hills 
and fat valleys of Burgundy! 

How glad you must have been to be again in your beloved 
Vitteaux with a landlady from Tunbridge Wells ! William 
will have a beautiful series of drawings done this summer. 
No! I think we will never get to Chaise-Dieu. We are not 
the sort of people, as you know, to wheel each other’s 
machines up 18 miles of landscape! I must tell you I never 
went to Paris after all. Circumstances veered suddenly ! My 
Viennese friend, ‘inspired’ I suspect by Mrs Everett’s re- 
ligious worldly advice, wrote to say she feared my love for 
her would very soon lessen if not go altogether, and thus she 
preferred to be wise and forgo the rash experience of coming 
to France to me. She says also (dear confidential Alice) 
‘When you will no longer have me — What will I do then? 
What will become of me then? Repudiated by my husband 
who loves me? Can you answer that?’ I have answered it 
according to my lights, which no doubt will not be strong 
enough to illuminate her doubts — at this distance. 


Women always suspect me of fickleness, but will they 
never give me a chance of vindicating myself? They are too 
modest, too cautious, for to do that they would have to give 
their lives. I am not an exponent of the faithful dog business. 

I work indoors mostly now. I am painting Michel’s por- 
trait. I hope to make a success of it. If when finished it will 
be as good as it is now I may count on that. I am also 
painting Polignac castle which ought to make a fine picture. 

The very excellent military band plays in the parks certain 
nights, and we have enjoyed sitting listening to it. It is very 
beautiful to watch the people under the trees. At intervals 
the attention of the populace is diverted from following the 
vigorous explanatory movements of the conductor by an 
appeal to patriotism, effected by illuminating the flag by 
Bengal lights at the window of die museum ! It is dazzling 
& undeniable ! The band plays very well. Rendered clair- 
voyant by the music one feels very intimate with humanity, 
only Michel’s voice when he breaks in with a laborious 
attempt at describing how beautifully the band played 3 years 
ago at the Queen’s Hall that time he took Edna Waugh — is 
rather disturbing — or is it that I am becoming ill tempered ! 

I’m glad Will is working away with his customary dili- 
gence. He will be able to look back at the summer without 
risking Lot’s daughter’s bitterness. Enviable Will! My 
sister tells me that Nietzsche is dead. I am so grateful for 
Will’s loan of Balzac’s Vie Conjugate. It pains and makes me 
laugh at the same time 

Yes. Burgundy is reserved for me for another summer. 
All the same for my part I shall not hope for better than our 
visit to Arlempdes — which is not honest, for I do hope for 
better — but scarcely expect. 

Michel sends much love — & I send more to you both. 


Usually, when we were in Paris, we asked Oscar Wilde to 
dinner. But on our last visit he had proposed dining in an 
open-air restaurant, where a small orchestra played. He chose 


Wilde’s last 

Letter from a table near the musicians; he liked being near the music, he 
Robert Ross said ; but during dinner it was plain that he was less interested 
in the music than in one of the players. I was annoyed, and 
resolved not to see him again. I did not, therefore, this time 
let him know that we were in Paris ; but the very first evening 
we met Wilde on the Boulevards, and I saw at once that he 
knew we had meant to avoid him. The look he gave us was 
tragic, and he seemed ill, and was shabby and down at heel. 
Of course we asked him to join us. He came in a chastened 
mood, and made himself very charming, but his gaiety no 
longer convinced; there was a stricken look in his eyes, and 
he plainly depended on drink to sustain his wit. We were 
never to see him again. He died later that year. Ross told 
me he had added my name, and my wife’s, to the few he had 
written on the wreath he laid on Oscar’s grave; I was glad 
he had done so. I must have written Robert Ross after 
Wilde’s death; for I find the following letter: 

Hotel Belle Vue , 


Dec. nth, 1900. 

My dear Will — 

I have been so touched by your letter, the only one of the 
several kind ones I have received that has given me any 
pleasure. I feel poor Oscar’s death a great deal more thqn 
I should, & far more than I expected. I had grown to feel, 
rather foolishly, a sort of responsibility for Oscar, for every- 
thing connected with him except his genius, & he had 
become for me a sort of adopted prodigal baby. I began to 
love the very faults which I would never have forgiven in 
anyone else. 

During the months I was in Paris I saw him every day & 
he was often in the best spirits, though he sometimes suffered 
a good deal of pain. One of the doctors however warned me 
that unless he was careful he would not live for more than 
three or four years. The night before I started for Nice on 
Nov. 13th he became very hysterical when I said goodbye 


to him, but I never attached any importance to this: I knew Robert Ross 
he was much worried as usual over financial matters & for and Wilde 
a few nights had been taking morphia by the doctor’s orders. 

I was rather angry at what I thought was merely nerves. But 
he asked everyone to go out of the room & sobbed for a 
quarter of an hour, & said he knew he would never see me 
again. For several days one of his jests had been that he 
would never outlive the century as die English people could 
not stand him any more & that he had kept them away from 
the Exhibition, so the French people would not stand him, & 

I did not take his serious remarks more seriously than these. 

Reggie promised to come & see him & keep me posted, & 
during die fortnight I was absent he more than fulfilled his 
promise — taking Oscar for drives & really acting as a nurse. 

On Sunday night Oscar became quite suddenly light headed 
& Reggie wrote to me an urgent letter, telling me that I ought 
to prepare for coming to Paris. This reached me on Tuesday. 

On Wednesday I was just going to move from [illegible] to 
Mentone with my mother when I got a telegram from Reg. 
saying ‘almost hopeless,’ & started for Paris at once. I could 
never have got on without Reggie. The last hours were in- 
expressibly painful, but I hope & believe that Oscar was un- 
conscious. He died at 2 o’clock on Friday afternoon. You can 
imagine the terrible formalities with the French authorities. 

They very nearly took him to the Morgue, because no re- 
lative turned up, & did not pay any attention to my tele- 
grams. Among the wreaths I placed a simple one of Laurels, 
as ‘a tribute to his literary achievements & distinction,’ & on 
it I put the names of those whom I thought would like to be 
remembered, & yours & Alice’s were among them. He was 
always fond of both of you. 

Always your affectionate 


I admired Ross’s devotion to Wilde. He says in his letter 
that he felt Oscar’s death ‘more than he should’. But this 
perfect unquestioning loyalty, continuing through so many 


Or pm at Cany years, in circumstances which were often trying, sometimes 
dark, painful, and, at last, sordid and repulsive even, was to 
me, to others as well, a touching, aye, a beautiful thing in 
Ross. So perfect was his love, that in Ross’s case a prejudice 
which might have been felt against one so closely associated 
with Wilde at the time of his downfall, was well-nigh turned 
into praise. 

Orpen, with Conder, and my brother Albert, spent the 
summer at Cany while we were in Auvergne with John. 
Orpen wrote, after a flying visit to the Paris Exhibition, and 
sent me some amusing drawings, illustrating their life at 

My dear Mr R. 

I have just been to Paris and seen your pearl with the 
English swine — and send my best congratulations . 1 Paris 
seemed very serious as my friend Everett is hardly a suitable 
Parisian companion. I am very glad to hear you like Albert’s 
work. He has sent me your book on Goya which has given 
me great delight. I hear from Mr C. that you have done 
some wonderful drawings this summer. When does the ex- 
hibition come off? I had better say nothing of what I am 
doing; they get worse and better, so I hope on. Augustus 
seems depressed. I have just had a letter from him. I sent you 
a few sketches to show the general aspect of Cany. I bless 
you for having told us of it. Its getting better every day, so 
I am loath to go back to London. — I suppose you have seen 
Conder’s work, some of the best I have ever seen of his, 
I think — I wish you had come and drawn the town, the 
Market Place is splendid, — please remember me to Mrs 

Yours ORPEN. 

The book on Goya to which Orpen refers was a small 
work, which I wrote for Binyon, who was editing a series of 
artists’ biographies. Soon after my return to London I went 

1 A silver medal had been awarded my painting of The Doll's 
House at the Paris Exhibition. 


to Bradford to finish the portrait of my parents. While I was Hands across 
there I heard again from John, who was still at Le Puy. the sea 

Le Puy, le 20 th 

Cite Titaud. 

My dear Will — 

Many thanks for your letter. I don’t think I will allow 
myself anymore [illegible]. My fair seems to be more cautious 
than fickle. I still continue to receive the most tender German 
missives from her. But, trifles apart, I still hang lovingly on 
the breasts of Puy who grows of a ripe beauty daily. I should 
say [illegible] perhaps, as it is in the country round that I invite 
my soul. I am painting beyond Espaly. The ever juvenile 
Michel leaves in a week. I rather expect McEvoy over then. 

One cannot count on the gentle dweller in Pimlico, but I have 
hopes. Michel pushed on by a conscientious philanthropy 
seeks peace with his soul in offering McEvoy his fare over 
and back 

I’m glad to hear of Albert’s improvement. It will be an 
event when the Bathers make their splash in an astonished 
world ! I hear from Orpen who still remains at Cany. I want 
to travel again next year hitherwards and be a painter. I am, 
dear Will, full of ideas for work. I send you a new form of 
dry point. Oh, it is charming of you to send the Goya. But 

it has not come ! Alas ! 

There came a play called ‘Michel Strogoff’ here to which 
we went. What was astonishing was to see two French & 

English war correspondents, M. Sollivet & Mister Blount, 
after much comic rivalry, finally, at a moment of peril embrace 
and swear eternal love! To see ‘La France et 1 ’Angleterre 
toujours ensemble’ walk off with their arms round each 
other’s necks was a sight that stirred up the last dregs of 
patriotism in the clear cool Anarchistic distilled liquor of my 
heart! I thought it was very generous of our neighbours, 
putting the ridiculous Mr Blount in a heroic position ! The 
house tempered their enthusiasm with, I thought, a regretful 
grain of salt. 


Success of I am going up to Paris for two or three days to see those 
a picture Daumiers etc. . . . 

It had been better, perhaps, had other ladies been as 
cautious as his German ‘fair’. But it was Ida Nettleship who 
reigned in John’s heart. We saw her on our return to town; 
and often dined with her parents. Jack Nettleship was the 
salt of the earth; he had an immense respect for the opinions 
of young painters, and would show his canvases, begging 
for criticism, criticism one was careful to avoid, lest Nettle- 
ship rush for his palette and brushes, and at once begin 
changing his picture. For he had a way of accepting one’s 
judgment. His admiration for John was more hesitating than 
mine ; but my enthusiasm for J ohn’s work was, I think, a com- 
fort to Nettleship ; for he knew of darling Ida’s devotion, 
and he was not the man to stand in the way of true love. 

In the autumn Carfax showed the drawings I made in 
Auvergne and Burgundy. Charles Holmes wrote me an 
encouraging letter: 

Hacon & Ricketts , 

The Vale Press 

No. 17 Craven St. Strand , London. 

May jth,, 1900. 

My dear Rothenstein, 

I could not help being pleased at your liking my experi- 
ments, but today your kind note was especially encouraging, 
since on Wednesday and Thursday I had been greatly im- 
pressed by your drawings at Carfax. I hope you will give 
the show the chance it deserves to have, and won’t close it 
too soon. I am sure it must be a success if people only know 
of it, for even you will find it difficult to replace by another 
collection of things as uniformly interesting & uniformly 
artistic. You may be amused to hear that Ricketts went twice 
yesterday to see them; an attention usually reserved for a 
few extremely dead men. 

3 66 

Yours sincerely 

c. j. HOLMES. 

Carfax sold a number of the drawings; and my brother, Fumivall’s 
Charles, made me an offer for The Doll's House, which I memories 
gratefully accepted, as I had returned to town with empty 
pockets. I received, too, a generous message from Sargent 
who wished, he declared, to acquire the picture. John had 
already written me : ‘ It may interest you to know that Tonks 
& Sargent independently arrived at the same conclusion, viz. 
that your Doll’s House was the best painting in the Ex- 
position. Also Tonks is enthusiastic over the portrait of 
Yrs Truly, le jeune homme.’ Oddly enough, The Doll's 
House had received litde notice when shown in London the 
year before; but now, owing to Sargent’s praise, many people 
enquired about it; and some years later Staats Forbes offered 
my brother a thousand pounds for the picture; but he 
would not then part with it. Later, however, my brother 
presented this painting to the Tate Gallery, together with 
McEvoy’s beautiful The Ear-Ring. 

Meanwhile I was asked to paint a portrait of Dr Fumivall, 
for Trinity Hall, Cambridge. An unusual type of scholar 
was this vivacious old man, with his very human interest in 
a young women’s rowing club at Hammersmith, of which he 
was President. Furnivall was then close on 76, and still 
sculled on the river. For his years he had a wonderfully glad 
eye, and a glad heart too. He liked coming to us, I think, 
and while he sat in the studio, or joined us at supper, was 
full of stories. As a youth he had sat at Ruskin’s feet, and he 
helped to start the Working Men’s College. He was staying 
with Ruskin when Millais came to paint Ruskin’s portrait — 
the one I saw at Sir Henry Acland’s house. Fumivall de- 
scribed Mrs Ruskin minutely; he remembered the very 
dresses she wore. Handsome and mettlesome, she might 
cast her eye, Ruskin feared, on young Millais, whose career 
was far too precious to be risked. There was no pretence of 
affection, or of sympathy even, betwixt Ruskin and her. 

Ruskin, according to Fumivall’s story, had hoped that she 
would elope with an Italian count who had stayed in the 
house ; but it was the count who eloped, not with Mrs Ruskin, 


The matter of but with all her jewels. Ruskin was angry at Millais for 
double sculling running off with his wife, so Fumivall said, because he 
believed his wife would ruin young Millais’ art. Perhaps 
Ruskin, I said, insensitive to his wife’s beauty, failed likewise 
to understand, and cherish, her woman’s nature. As Millais’ 
wife, was not her lot a happier one? But Fumivall rambled 
on, about his quarrels with Swinburne, whom he insisted 
on calling Swinesford, about Browning and the Browning 
Society he started, and the Early English Text Society. I 
found a note from W. P. Ker about Fumivall: 

95 Gower Street , 

22 Dec. 1900. 

Dear Rothenstein 

I send you a Christmas present, with good wishes. 

I am grieved at my want of sense in defaulting at the 
Chaucer dinner — I wish I had been there, and would have 
been, but words spoken at midnight in the High fall easily 
away from the memory. It is a loss. 

I hope Fumivall is shaping well. I don’t think his views 
are quite sound about double sculling, but you needn’t put 
that into the picture. 

Very truly yours 

W. P* £ER« 

I don’t know if Furnivall’s views about sculling showed 
in the portrait; but many years afterwards, when visiting 
Trinity Hall, we were shown the portrait by a college 
servant who observed, ‘a good many young ladies from 
Hammersmith come to see this painting, sir!’ Max was 
much amused by Fumivall, upon whom he once played a 
naughty, and successful, trick. There had been some dis- 
cussion as to the meaning of certain phrases in Shakespeare; 
so the wicked Max wrote a letter to The Saturday Review , 
referring to a rare term of heraldry which, he believed, would 
throw light on the problem. Fumivall spent a whole day at 
the British Museum, searching for the reference which, of 


course. Max had invented. When the hoax was revealed 
to him, he burst into a charming peal of laughter, and 
entirely forgave Max on condition that a subscription 
of ten shillings should be paid to the Esperance Girls’ 

I painted Max, too, at this time in top-hat, long coat and 
white gloves. Max’s repute as a writer was growing daily. 
His Saturday Review articles were a delight, and he had just 
published his first book of prose — The Works of Max Beer- 
bohm (or was it the second book — More?). There were still 
but few people who understood Max’s caricatures. Max sees 
only the worst side of his subjects, I used to hear. Punch had 
for so long provided illustrations to harmless jokes, that the 
nature of true satire was wellnigh forgotten. Vanity Fair , 
too, had become a repository for amiable likenesses. People 
accused Max of bad form; of looking for the ugly side of 
men’s characters. Actually, no one was quicker than Max to 
see the attractive side of people he met, and he preferred the 
gentle word which gives pleasure to the barbed phrase which 
hurts. But Max happened to have a genius for satire, and his 
integrity as a satirist equalled his fastidiousness as a writer. 
Once he took up his pencil he drew not with malice, nor yet 
with kindness, but with the intuition of a creative artist; he 
drew neither portraits nor poetical compositions, but cari- 
catures, and satirical cartoons. 

Satire is the poetry of laughter; the vision of what might 
be through the ridicule of what is; it is not for nothing that 
Aristophanes and Rabelais are placed among the immortals. 
There is a story that one day there came into Daumier’s work- 
room an old gentleman, breathless and perturbed, who asked 
for M. Daumier, and then went down on his knees, saying, 
‘I salute the greatest historian in France’. The old gendeman 
was Michelet! I do not see Professor Trevelyan or Dr Gooch 
going down on their knees before Max; but it will now be 
admitted, I think, that Max will throw as much light on cer- 
tain aspects of contemporary history as these distinguished 

Max the 




€ The Happy It was in 1898 that Max wrote a play — The Happy Hypo- 
Hypocrite' crite — at the suggestion, I think, of Mrs Patrick Campbell, 
If the play were ever produced, I must design scenes and 
dresses, Max said. I would have loved to do this; but before 
the play was finished I heard from Max: 

* I am distracted in the forlorn effort to write the Hap . Hyp . 
which the Lyceum people want by Tuesday or Wednesday 
— and I am writing to cancel various engagements — as every 
moment of my time will have to be devoted to drama.... 

*1 saw Mrs P. C. and Mr F. R. 1 yesterday at Bedford Square 
— and Mr F. R. was so full of the way he wanted to have the 
Georgian dresses done (if the play were really produced) 
that I, a mild and embarrassed neophyte, could not introduce 
the idea that you ought to design the costumes. Please for- 
give my wealmess of purpose — You are the only person who 
could have done the dresses really well — but I was placed in 
such a position that I could not make the suggestion. I will 
come and see you as soon as the play is definitely on — or off/ 

Happily the play, when it was produced in December, 
1900, was charmingly staged; the first night was a triumph; 
Mrs Beerbohm was the proudest mother in England. Max 
wrote the next day, in his modest way: 

‘Very many thanks for your nice, kind, amusing letters. 
They have greatly delighted me. I sit here among the debris 
of success, wondering what on earth can be the matter with 
my play — why it has appealed to the great heart-disease of 
the British Public. All the same, I am flattered. And your 
appreciation convinces me that the little play is not wholly 

We had stayed with Rodin at Meudon on our way back 
from Auvergne, when he complained of his difficulties: the 
expenses of casting his bronzes and the cost of the marble 
for his Baiser then being exhibited. Warren promised to 
see Le Baiser in Paris, with a view to acquiring it. With 
Fothergill’s encouragement Warren asked me to approach 
Rodin on the matter, and the purchase was finally arranged 
1 Mr Johnston Forbes-Robertson. 


to Rodin’s satisfaction, Warren agreeing to pay £1000 for Buying a 
the marble. At the same time I saw Legros, Tweed and Rodin 
MacColl, with the idea of getting a Rodin bronze for the 
Victoria and Albert Museum. MacColl was warm in his 

support. Monday 

Nov. 12 1900. 

I saw Tweed after meeting your wife & arranged for a 
preliminary meeting at his studio 14a Cheyne Row.... Bring 
Legros if you possibly can. You suffer a critic more gladly 
or at least more generously than anyone in my experience. 

d. s. M. 

Legros and Sargent both came to the meeting. Sargent 
was in favour of acquiring an early work, V Age d’ Or; he cared 
less for Rodin’s later manner. I wrote to Rodin, who replied: 

Mon cher ami 

Je suis honore et heureux de la proposition que vous me 
faites, et je rends grace a messieurs Maccoll et Tweed, Legros, 
et vous, ami, de votre si grande sympathie. 

Je crois que 4000 pour un beau bronze serait bien. Belle 

Pour le marbre le prix est le double peut-etre plus, avec 
l’achat du marbre V age d’airain et I’homme qui s’ eveille serait 
pour la 7 e fois en marbre et je le vois dans cette matiere 
doubler d’expression ; car il y a dans cette douleur des nuances 
fines qui ne seraient rendues que par le marbre et, si je pouvais, 
du marbre grec. 

Aussi bien cette figure debout, le bras sur la tete, qui a ete 
achete en bronze par Copenhague, serait si bien en marbre 
que je fais des voeux pour cela. 

A mi tip et presentez mes meilleurs compliments a Madame 

Rothenstein. Votre devoue 


31 oct. 1900. 

p.S. pour le haiser j’attends sans impatience de faire aussi 
cette sculpture, aussi par vos soins. 



Meunier in 

Again, on the 17 nov . 1900 he wrote: 

Excuse^-moi de cette feuille 

Mon cher ami 

Je suis heureux de savoir que vos intentions prennent de 
la realite grace a votre devouement et a celui de vos amis. 

Je crois que si Kensington prend deux bronzes, V age 
d’airain et le bronze de silence , ce serait bien, mais je dois 
avouer que le silence n’a pas encore ses bras. Voyez si cela 

J’ai une tres belle figure qui est d’un bourgeois de Calais 
qui est placee dans le petit pavilion qui precede mon expo, 
chez moi. EUe est complete quoique le morceau expose soit 
sans tete et sans mains. Cette figure a une grande desin- 

Je ne ferai payer que les frais de fonte et quelques petits 
frais. Pour le baiser Monsieur Carfax m’a envoye une feuille 
de traite pour cela. Mais je n’ai pas trouve explicite le 
premier article et je lui ai demande de bien faire mettre que 
mon travail etait de 20,000 francs — vingt mille francs — et que 
le marbre de cinq mille francs 5,000 fourni par la carriere 
etait a la charge de Monsieur Warren, c 5 est-a-dire 25000 en 
tout; les articles suivants sont tres bien.. . . 

a vous, cher ami; a Madame Rothenstein mes respects 


Finally, a bronze of St John the Baptist was purchased by 
subscription and gladly accepted by the Museum. 1 Soon 
afterwards Le Baiser was completed and sent to Lewes 

Rodin wrote that Constantin Meunier was to be in London, 
and Legros brought him, with Cobden-Sanderson, to see us. 
Meunier was enthusiastic about London, it was so dramatic, 
he said; and he showed us some remarkable drawings he had 

x In 1914 Rodin presented 16 bronzes, a group in marble and a 
mask in terra-cotta, to the Victoria and Albert Museum. 


done of stark warehouses and sinister streets and courts by Masefield's 
the Thames side, and dark archways under the bridges. It early days 
was strange, I thought, that a foreigner, during so short a 
visit, should do what artists living always in London failed to 
do. Broad-minded and large-hearted was Meunier, an austere 
and powerful creator. His sculpture I knew well, but not his 
drawings ; nor have I seen his drawings since, nor heard any 
speak of them. Strang, too, admired the austerity of 
Meunier’s work. Strang was now painting; he tried first one 
manner and then another; for the moment he was under 
Shannon’s influence. 

On Sunday evenings we often went to the Strangs at 
Hamilton Terrace. Laurence Binyon was a familiar there, 
and one evening he came, bringing a stranger, a quiet youth, 
with eyes that seemed surprised at the sight of the world, 
and hair that stood up behind like a cockatoo’s feathers. As 
a youth he had run away to sea, Binyon whispered, and had 
had wondrous adventures; now he wanted to write; but he 
was very poor, and Binyon was helping him. After supper 
the stranger seated himself on the floor, and we sat round 
while he told us tales of adventure: how he and a few ship- 
mates had fared in South America, where, being penniless, 
they nearly starved. Once, during a storm, they had fixed 
their jackknives in their caps, hoping the lightning might 
strike them and put an end to their misery, so wretched they 
were. Masefield — this was the young man’s name — spoke 
in a deep and solemn voice; a serious and romantic youth, 

I thought; and I got to like him. Indeed, everyone liked 
him, and wished to be helpful; but to help is not always an 
easy matter. Hearing that Lawrence Hodson was planning 
an exhibition at Wolverhampton to show the important 
work being done outside the Royal Academy, Masefield 
successfully offered himself as secretary. And an admirable 
secretary and organiser he proved. He wrote, too, an intro- 
duction for the catalogue, one of his earliest pieces of prose 
to be p ub lished. Both Binyon and Yeats encouraged Mase- 
field’s adventures in poetry; so, I think, did Cunninghame 


Masefield’s Graham. Masefield himself had a passionate admiration for 
early days Conrad. When later I got to know Conrad, I took him 
Masefield’s Salt Water Ballads , and some of his stories; but 
Conrad had conceived one of his odd prejudices against 
Masefield, and indulged in a violent outburst against him. 
Whether his prejudice lasted I do not know. 




Abbey, Edwin A., 196 
Abelard, 242 

Achurch, Miss Janet, 56, 210 
Acland, Miss Sarah, 145 
Acland, Sir Henry, 139-141, 142, 
145, 367 

Adam, Madame, 92 
Adkins, Nurse Sarah, 5 
Ahrons, Miss Elizabeth, 12 
Ahronses, the, 12 
Ainsworth, Harrison, 9 
Alcazar, 218 
Alexander, J. W., 77, 78 
Alexander, Miss, 111 
Alexander, Samuel, 351 
Alexander, Sir George, 225 
Allen, Grant, 124 
Aman-Jean, E., 42 
‘Amaryllis’, see Hacon, Mrs 

Andersen, Hans, 6, 19 1 
Anderson, Miss Mary, 9 
Anne, Queen, 11 
Anquetin, L., 59, 63-64? 65, ^7? 

69, 1 18, 1 19, 261, 269—270 
Ansell, Miss Mary, 229 
Anstey, F., 9 
Arabi Pasha, Revolt of, 5 
Archer, William, 184, 276, 301 
Aristophanes, 369 
Arlempdes, 358, 359, 361 
Armitage, Edward, 27 
Arzila, 217 
Ashbee, C. R., 29 
Ashburton, Lady, 24 
Austin, Alfred, 290 
Auteuil, 342 

Auvergne, 356, 358, 364, 366, 

Auxerre, 357 
Azavedo, 101, 248 

Backhouse, E. Trelawney, 147 
Balcarres, Lord, 147 
Baldwin, Spenser, 352 
Baldwin, Stanley, 15 
Balfour, A. J., 295 
Balzac, Honore de, 63, 64, 65, 73, 
93, 122, 136, 245, 281, 335, 344? 
35i? 361 

Banville, Theodore de, 41 
Barnett, Canon, 29 
Barnetts, the, 29, 30 
Barrett, Wilson, 290 
Barrie, Sir James, 210 
Bartlett, Paul, 77, 78 
BaschkirtsefF, Marie, 79 
Bastien-Lepage, Jules, 42 
Bataille, Henri, 44 
Bataille, Madame, 60 
Bate, Francis, 198 
Bath, Marchioness of, 353, 354 
Baudelaire, Charles, 23, 122, 171, 
232, 234, 239, 253, 256, 263 
Baudy, Monsieur and Madame, 49 
Bayreuth, 54 

Beardsley, Aubrey, 134—136, 174, 
176, 179, 180, 181—183, 184- 
187, 188, 207, 209, 213, 237, 
243, 244-246, 247, 248, 249, 
250, 259, 273? 2*75 > 2 93> 2 94> 
317-318, 323, 329 
Beardsley, Mabel, 134, 232, 317 
Beauchamp, Earl, 147 
Beerbohm, Miss Constance, 290 
Beerbohm, Julius, 275 
Beerbohm, Max, 74, 135, 13^? 
144-146, 147, i5 2 > 164-165, 



Beerbohm, Max ( continued \) 

1 66, 167, 180, 181, 182-183, 
186, 187, 200, 209, 210, 21 1, 
213, 226, 237, 244, 268-269, 
272-275, 276, 283-285, 287, 
289—290, 297, 300—302, 312, 

3 I 4-3 I 5, 33°? 335? 343? 344? 
345? 368-370 

Beerbohm, Mrs, 272—273, 275, 

Beerbohms, the, 201, 272 
Behrens, Sir Jacob, 20 
Bell, Miss Gertrude, 201 
Bell, Mrs Hugh, 201 
Bell, Mrs Vanessa, 98; see also 
Stephen, Miss Vanessa, 

Bellini, 331 

Belloc, Hilaire, 137, 144 
Ben Rhydding, 15 
Berenson, Bernhard, 202 
Berenson, Mrs Bernhard, 203 
Bemaval, 314 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 183 
Bemheim, 342 
Besant, Digby, 27 
Besnard, Albert, 44, 45, 52 
Bevan, 248 

Bibi la Puree, see La Puree 
Billy, 357 
Bing, S., 106 
Bingley, 14 

Binnie, Sir Alexander, r 1 
Binyon, Laurence, 172, 200, 283, 
328, 329, 330, 364, 373 
Bird, Miss Alice, 136 
Bird, Dr George, 136 
Bismarck, Otto von, 5 1 
Blackwell, Basil, 150 
Blackwood, Lord Basil, 123, 124, 
125, 13*? 137 

Blake, "William, 28, 29, 31, 316 
Blanche, Jacques, 85, 106, 245, 
247, 248-249, 251, 341-342 
Bland, J. O. P., 147 
Blind, Karl, 11 
Blunt, Arthur, 76 
Blunt, Wilfred, 138 

Boccaccio, 28 

Bodenhausen, Freiherr von, 291- 

Boldini, Giovanni, 85, 19 1 
Bolton Abbey, 14 
Bonn, 52 

Bonnard, Pierre, 44, 69 
Bonnat, Leon, 71, 191 
Bonnier, Charles, 138 
Bontine, the Hon. Mrs, 179—180, 

Borthwick, the Hon. Oliver, 137 
Botticelli, 42, 79, 132, 185, 240, 

Boucher, Francois, 159 
Bouguereau, A. W., 39 
Boulanger, General, 29 
Boulanger, Marcel, 121, 122 
Boulogne-sur-Seine, 47 
Bourdelle, E., 319 
Brabazon, H. B., 188—189, 270 
Bracquemond, F., 40, 41, 158 
Bradley, Andrew, 339 
Bradley, Miss, see Field, Michael 
Brangwyn, Frank, 106, 332 
Breslau, Mile, 79 
Breughel, Pieter, 30 
Bridges, Mrs Robert, 152 
Bridges, Robert, 152, 227-228, 
282, 295, 297-298, 327-329 
Bright, John, 7 
Broads tairs, 164— 165 
Bronner, Dr E., 11 
Bronners, the, 12 
Bronte, Charlotte, 13, 350 
Brontes, the, 13 
Brooke, Miss Honor, 31 
Brooke, the Rev. Stopford, 30, 
31, 201 

Brown, Ford Madox, 174, 191, 
229, 230, 231, 260 
Brown, Frederick, 26, 35, 171, 
186, 243, 332, 333, 349 
Brown, Sarah, 129 
Browning, Robert, 30, 56, 117, 
202, 235, 368 
Bruant, Aristide, 61, 96 

Bruce, Hamilton, 296 

B.T. B., see Blackwood, Lord 

Burdon-Sanderson, Sir John 
Scott, 143 

Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 19, 29, 
5 1 , 72, 97, 98, 114, 174, 17 6, 
184-185, 207, 234, 255, 257- 
258, 259, 261, 286, 292 
Burne-Jones, Lady, 21 1 
Burne-Jones, Philip, 99 
Burns, John, 297 
Burrell, Arthur, 8, 10, 16 
Burton, Lady, 136 
Burton, Sir Richard, 136 
Busch, Wilhelm, 4 
Bushey School, 17, 21 
Bussell, F. W., 139, 155-156 
Butcher, Eleanor, 206 
Byron, Lord, 170, 297 
By water, Ingram, 143 

Cadiz, 222—223 
Caine, Hall, 300 
CaHot, J., 25, 64 
Calvin, 5 

Campbell, Mrs Patrick, 21 1, 258, 

Campbell, Miss Stella, 258 

Canova, Antonio, 205 

Cany, 3465 355, 364-365 

Carlisle, Lord, 31, 255 

Carlton, Bibi, 216, 218, 221—222 

Carlyle, Thomas, 7, 33, in, 2x4 

Carmen, 85 

Carr, Comyns, 273 

Carriere, Eugene, 60, 159, 322 

Carson, Sir Edward, 225 

Carson, Murray, 300 

Carte, Geoffrey, 332 

Carte, Henry, 332 

Carter, A. C. R., 12 

Carter, Frank, 27 

Carverley, 8 

Casaubon, Madame, 38 

Cass, Gertrude, 12 

Cass, Sir John, 12 

Cazals, F. A., 264 
Cazin, C., 42 

Cezanne, Paul, 71, 103, m 19 << 
2,1, 263 

Chantemesle, 115, n8 
Chardin, J. S., 68, no, 263 
Charles, James, 19 
Charteris, Miss Cynthia, 258 

^ a f7 ot ^ a i or 5 59. 1 15 
Chellow Dene, 15 

Cher, River, iji, 152 
Cheret, Jules, 6x, 68 
Chevalier, Albert, 284 
Chimay, Princesse de, 108 
Chowne, Gerard, 2x5 
Cimabue, x8 

J - 4<5? 47 

Clarke, Sir Edward, 225, 2-57— 
338 i5/ 

Claude, 22, 47, 254 
Cleopatra, 129 
Clermont-Ferrand, 357 
Clifton, Arthur B., 343, 345 
Clouet, Francois, 173 
Clutton-Brock, Arthur, 14 
Cobden, Richard, 7 
Cobden-Sanderson, T. J., 372 
Cochin and Co., 182 
Colefax, Arthur, 12, 147 
Collins, Churton, 21 1 
Colnaghi, D., 225 
Colson, Arthur, 16 
Colthursty Mss Anne, 103 
Colthurst, the Misses, 103 
Colvin, Sidney, 200, 283, 294 
Compton, Edward, 9 
Concameau, 77, 78 
Conder, Charles, 55-59, 61--63, 
65, 67, 68, 70-71, 73. 74-7<>, 80, 
81, 86, 90-91, 96, ioo-xoi, 106, 
x 14-122, 124, 125, 126, 137, 

1 53~i 5 5, 171-172, 175, 176, 
179. 184, 185, 191, 198, 199, 
200, 210, 226, 228, 238, 240, 
244-250, 251, 267, 289, 317, 
333. 334. 338, 34i. 343™344, 
345, 347, 348, 355, 35<$, 3<$4 




Congreve, William, 199 
Connell, Norreys, 238 
Conrad, Joseph, 345, 374 
Constable, John, 170 
Constant, Benjamin, 39 
Cookson, Geoffrey, 137 
Coomhe, Miss Helen, 212 
Cooper, Miss, see Field, Michael 
Copp^e, Frangois, 265 
Coquelin Aine, 88-89, 90 
Coquelin Cadet, 89, 90 
Coquelins, the, 68, 88 
Corder, Rose, in, 113 
Cordova, 223 
Corelli, Marie, 31 1 
Corot, J. B. C., 34, 2.96, 350 
Cosimo, Piero di, 185 
Costa, Giovanni, 31 
Costelloe, Miss Karin, 203 
Costelloe, Mrs, 203 ; see also 
Berenson, Mrs Bernhard 
Costelloe, Ray, 203 
Courbet, Gustave, 23, 41, 43, 44, 
48, 178, 198, 254 
Courtney, Leonard, 227 
Cowdray, Viscount, 12 
Crackenthorpe, Hubert, 188,207- 

Craig, Miss Ailsa, 301 
Craig, Edward Gordon, 21 1, 275, 
276-278, 298, 301—302 
Craigie, Mrs (Pearl), 242, 290- 

Crane, Mrs Walter, 292—293 
Crane, Walter, 31, 133, 166, 255, 
292-293, 345“346 
Crawley, Mrs Charles, 206 
Cremome, 167 

Cromer, Countess of, 353-354 
Cujini, Aurora la, 224 
Currie, Sir Edward, 29 
Curtis, 76 

Cushing, Howard, 83, 113, 130, 

Cust, Harry, 285, 294 
Cust, Lionel, 294 
Cust, Miss, 296 

Dacre, Miss Elizabeth, 261 
Dagnan-Bouveret, P. A. J., 42, 

Dalou, Jules, 255 
D’Anethan, Mile, 79 
Daniel, the Rev. Charles Henry 
Olive, 152 

Daniel, Mrs Henry, 152 
Daniel, Miss Rachel, 153 
Daniel, Miss Ruth, 153 
Dante, 143, 243 
Darwin, Charles, 7 
Daubigny, C. F., 34 
Daudet, Alphonse, 159, 160-161, 
163, 213, 266 
Daudet, L£on, 161 
Daudet, Madame, 160 
Daudet, Madame Leon, 161 
Daumier, Honore, 63, 67, 102, 
158, 177, 198, 263, 348, 366,369 
d’Aurevilly, Barbey, 73, 122, 158 
Davidson, John, 181, 188, 330 
da Vinci, Leonardo, 75, 254, 329 
Davis, Edmund, 179, 256 
Davis, Richard Harding, 124, 

Dayot, Armand, 128 
Dayot, Madeleine, 128 
de Boisbaudran, Lecoq, 23, 25 
de Chavannes, Puvis, 42, 43, 44, 
45 j 55? 5<>, 66, 67, 71, 72, 79, 
100, 174, 207, 254, 348 
Defoe, Daniel, 162 
Degas, Edgar, 26, 41, 44, 53, 54, 
56, 58, 66, 67, 69, 71, 73, id- 
107, hi, 125, 158, 169, 170, 
171, 174 , 185, 19 °, 191, 194 , 
196, 242, 262, 263, 277, 296, 
318-319, 322, 336, 337, 341 
de Goncourt, Edmond, 65, 139, 
158—160, l6l— 163, 209, 235, 
242, 262, 266 
de Goncourt, Jules, 158 
de Gourmont, R&ny, 86, 121 
Delacroix, Eugene, 22, 34, 35, 42, 
58, 63, 102, 174, 198, 220, 253- 


de Lisle, Rouget C. J., 177 
de l’lsle-Adam, P. A. M. Villiers, 
73, 122, 158 

Delius, Frederick, 10, 79 
de M6rode, Cleo, 247 
Denis, Maurice, 44, 69, 120 
Denman, Lady, 177 
De Quincey, Thomas, 282, 335 
Deroulede, Paul, 48 
Desboutin, M., 105 
de Vallombreuse, H., 90, 91, 12 1, 

Devonshire, Duke of, 202, 255 
Diaz de la Pena, N. V., 34, 296 
Dickens, Charles, 9, 28, 31 1 
Dickinson, G. Lowes, 76 
Dieppe, 245-251, 308, 317, 340, 

Disraeli, Benjamin, 289 
Dixon, Canon, 295, 297—298, 329 
Dodd, Francis, 260-261 
Dodgson, C. L., 138, 150 
Dolmetsch, Arnold, 212— 213 
Donnay, Maurice, 61 
Donnelly, Sir John, 255 
Dostoievsky, 48 
Doucet, Lucien, 39, 40, 41 
Douglas, Lord Alfred, 147 
Downie, J. P., 27 
Dowson, Ernest, 237—238, 245, 
248, 330 

Drury, Alfred, 236 
Du Barry, Madame, 107 
Duckworth, George, 47, 97, 98- 

Duckworth, Gerald, 97 
Duez, E. A., 19 1 
Dufferin, Marquis of, 123, 161 
Dufton, A., 12 

Dujardin, Edouard, 59, 63, 65, 69, 
70, 1 17, 119-121, 240 
Dumas, Alexandre, 159 
Du Maurier, George, 86, 266 
Duran, Carolus, 71, 79, 19 1, 195 
Durand-Ruel, 41, 71, 342 
Diirer, 25, 75 
Durham, Mr, 20 

Duvent, Charles, 44, 48, 58, 59, Index 
90, 100, 262 
Dyce Collection, 32 
Dyer, George, 234 
Dyson, Frank, 12, 136 

Eden, Sir William, 231, 232, 242, 

2 7°j 338, 340 
Edwards, Mrs Edwin, 263 
Edwards, Miss Mary, see McEvoy, 

Mrs Ambrose 
El Arash, see Leratsche 
Elcho, Lady, 258 
El Greco, 42, 196 
Eliot, M., 42 
Elizabeth, Queen, 81 
Ellis, Robinson, 141— 143 
Elton, Oliver, 294, 351 
Epstein, Jacob, 236 
Erasmus, 23, 202 
Espaly, 365 
Etretat, 346, 348 
Evans, W., 315 
Everett, Mrs, 355, 360 
Everett, J., 364 

Faed, Thomas, 19 
Fairbaim, Andrew, 1 1 
Fairbaim, John, 11 
Fairbaims, the, 11 
Fantin-Latour, I. H. J. T., 24, 69, 

71, 73, no, 169, 191, 196, 254, 

262-264, 269, 318, 322—323, 


Farr, Miss Florence, 282 
Farren, Nellie, 29 
Faur6, Gabriel, 196 
Faure, Maurice, 12 1 
Fecamp, 348 

Ferrier, Miss (‘ Coggy 9 ), 355 
Fez, 2x6, 219 
Fichte, J. G-, 171 
Field, Michael, 201, 202—203, 350 
Firminger, the Rev. W. K., 268 
Firth, J. B., 12 

Fisher, Herbert A. L., 37, 38, 42, 

45, 46, 47, 48, 5o> 5 h 97-98, 138 



Fisher, Mrs, 97 
Flaubert, Gustave, 122, 184 
Flavigny, 280 
Fletcher, W. A. L., 144 
Flower, Cyril, 30 
Folkestone, 268 

Forain, J. L., 40, 41, 45, 58, 10 6, 
159, 2 66 

Forbes-Robertson, Johnston, 21 1, 

Forbes, Staats, 367 
Ford, Henry, 339 
Ford, Miss Isabel, 176 
Forster Collection, 32 
Forster, W. E., 8 
Foster, Gregory, 27 
Fothergill, John, 343, 345 
Fra Angelico, 42 
Fragonard, Jean Honore, 254 
France, Anatole, 213 
Francesca, Piero della, 42 
Frangois, 37 
Frangois I, 47 

Frazier, Kenneth, 37, 42, 43, 45, 
47? 5°? 78? 79? 8z ? 8 3? 8 <>? 100, 
^ lx 9> *55 

Friant, Emile, 59, 89, 215, 261-262 
Frith, W. P., 17? 19 
Fry, C. B., 144, 146 
Fry, Roger, 76, 176, 208, 273, 

Fryas, Duque de, 221 
Fumiss, Harry, 17 
Fumivall, Dr F. J., 367-368 
Furse, Charles Wellington, 23, 
167, 172-173, 190, 206, 244, 
286, 300, 332 
Furse, H. M., 27 
Fuseli, Henry, 340 
Fussli, W., 340 

Gainsborough, Thomas, 29, 189 
Gandara, Antonio de la, 85, 95, 
Gardiner, Jack, 95 
Gardiner, Mrs Jack, 95—96 
Garibaldi, 47, 103 

Gaskell, the Misses, 350, 351 
Gauguin, Paul, 49, 69, 72, 77, 99, 


Gautier, Theophile, 90, 232, 351 

Gavami, 37, 158 

Gay, Walter, 77, 78 

Germaine, 76, 115, 118, 119 

Gerdme, J. L., 35, 102 

Gervex, H., 19 1 

Gibraltar, 215 

Gibson, Charles Dana, 124 

Gide, Andre, 121 

Gilbert, Alfred, 335 

Gilbert and Sullivan, 9, 86 

Gill, Eric, 46 

Giorgione, 195 

Giotto, 23, 42, 196, 243, 254 

Girtin, Thomas, 280 

Gissing, George, 60, 302—304, 328 

Givemy, 42, 49, 50 

Gladstone, W. E., 7, 9, 12, 17 

Godwin, E. W., 166 

Goethe, 70 

Gooch, Dr G. P., 369 
Gordale Scar, 14, 15, 281 
Gore, Dr Charles, 152 
Gosse, Edmund, 164, 286, 302 
Goujon, Jean, 47 
Goulding, Frederick, 304 
Goya, Francisco de, 108, 178, 
188, 200, 223, 224, 341, 364, 

Graham, Robert Cunninghame, 
179—180, 21 1, 215—224, 305- 
306, 316, 373 

Granby, Lady, see Rutland, Violet 
Duchess of 
Gray, John, 175-176 
Gray, Miss Marion, 179 
Greaves, Walter, 168, 169 
Green, Mrs J. R., 201-202, 21 1 
Greene, Herbert, 138 
GrefFuhle, Comtesse de, 107 
Gregory, the Misses, 2 
Grein, J. T., 226, 228 
Grey, Ronald, 76 
Grez, 128—129 

Grille d’figout, 63 
Grimm, 6 

Guardi, Francesco, 223 
Guilbert, Yvette, 66, 96, 284 
Guiseley, 13, 15 
Guthrie, James, 176-177, 335 
Gyp, 250-251 

Hacon, W. Llewellyn, 198-200, 
33°, 343 

Hacon, Mrs Llewellyn, 198, 200 
Haden, Lady, 306—307 
Haden, Sir Seymour, 306-308 
Haggard, H. Rider, 9 
Hale, Philip, 44 
Halifax, 8 

Hall, Mrs Edna Clarke, 334, 361 
Halle, Charles, 273 
Hals, Franz, no, 193, 196 
Hamerton, P. G., 47 
Hamilton, Ian, 244 
Hamilton’s Panorama, 9 
Hammond, J. L., 12, 136, 137 
Hannay, Arnold, 341 
Hardy, Thomas, 48, 207, 268, 
302-303, 304 
Harland, Henry, 208 
Harmsworth, Alfred, 300 
Harmsworth, Mrs, 300 
Harris, Charles, 12 
Harris, Frank, 211— 214, 227, 264, 
288-289, 328, 337-338- 
Harris, Walter, 2x6-217, 221, 222 
Harrison, Alexander, 77, 78, 322 
Harrison, Bernard, 126 
Harrison, Frederick, 126, 203, 303 
Harrison, Lawrence A., 171, 197, 

Hart, Howard, 44 
Hartington, Marquis of, 9 
Hawksworth, 15 
Haworth, 8, 13 
Haworth, Vicar of, 13 
Hayashi, 106 

Headlam, the Rev. Stewart, 238 
Heath, Frank, 27 
Heaton, 11 

Heine, 335 

Heinemann, William, 158, 264, 

Helleu, Paul, 85, 95, 107-108, 190, 
194, 304, 338 
Heloise, 242 

Henderson, Alexander, 97 
Henley, the Hon. Anthony, 137, 

Henley, W. E., 35, 103, 138, 173, 
23 7? 2 77- 2 78, 285, 295, 296- 
Hennique, Leon, 161 
Henry and Co., 226 
Herkomer, Hubert, 17, 21, 37, 
261, 276 

Herter, Mrs Albert, 79 
Heseltine, J. P., 319 
High Force, 281 
Hill, G. F., 27 
Hines, William, 138 
Hirst, F. W., 146 
Hodson, Lawrence, 201, 373 
Hofmann, Frau von, 51, 54 
Hofmann, Ludwig von, 38, 45, 
52, 53? 54? 9 8 ? 128 
Hogarth, William, 9, 18, 114, 257 
Hokusai, 160, 167 
Holbein, Hans, 23, 60, 331 
Holl, Frank, 261 
Holloway, Charles Edward, 186 
Hollyer, Frederick, 291 
Holme, Charles, 134 
Holmes, Charles J., 176, 201, 344, 

Holroyd, Charles, 21, 25, 26, 31, 


Homer, 6 

Hood, Jacomb, see Jacomb-Hood 
Hopkinson, Alfred, 351 
Home, Herbert P., 2x3, 237, 239, 
240, 260, 330 
Horonobu, 160, 297 
Houghton, Boyd, 243 
Housman, A. E., 281, 330 
Housman, Laurence, 176, 281, 
330, 349-3 5° 




Howara, 217 
Howard, Francis, 33 6 
Howard, the Hon. Hubert, 137 
Howell, Charles Augustus, in— 

Hudson, W. H., 15 
Hughes, Arthur, 259—260 
Hugo, Victor, 5, 46, 161, 319 
Hunt, Cecil, 222 

Hunt, W. Holman, 29, 30, 174, 

Hunt, Leigh, 136 
Huxley, Thomas, 7 
Huysmans, J. K., 95, 124, 139, 

Ibsen, Henrik, 56, 210, 277 
Image, Selwyn, 237-238, 332 
Ingleton, 281 

Ingres, J. A. D., 22, 34, 35, 40, 42, 
71, 102, 103, 105, no, 253, 254 
Irving, Henry, 29, 169, 184, 277, 
2 99, 335 

Jack the Ripper, 30 
Jackson, Mrs, 98 
Jackson, Thomas, 152 
Jacomb-Hood, G. P., 142, 166, 
i7 2 > i74> i7<$, i9°> *9 2 
James, Henry, 81—82, 100, 190, 
204, 250, 290, 304-305 
Jeanne Avril, 63 
Jellie, William, 27 
Jepson, Edgar, 238 
Jeune, Lady, 302 
Joachim, Joseph, 33 
John, Augustus E., 26, 57, 332— 
335> 340, 343, 345, 347—349, 

35 2 , 355~35<$> 35*, 359 - 3 *h 
364-365, 367 

John, Mrs Augustus, 334, 365 
John, Miss Gwen, 334, 352 
Johnson, Lionel, 157, 181, 188, 
2 33> 330 

Johnston, Humphreys, 44 
Jose, Victor, 65 
Julian, 39, 58 

Julian, Academie, 35, 36-40, 43, 

44, 47, 55, 58, 71, 76, 79 
Juliette, 88, 96 
Jusserand, J. J., 201 

Keats, John, 136, 171, 235 
Keeling, the Rev. W. H., 8 
Keene, Charles, 17, 58 
Keighley, 14 
Kekule, R. von, 52 
Kekules, the von, 54 
Kendall, Sargent, 44 
Ker, W. P., 138, 368 
Kerry, Earl of, 137 
Kershaw, J. F., 137 
Kessler, Harry Graf, 291 
Kettlewell, 281 

Khayyam, Omar, 56, 101, 117 
Kien Lung, 112 

Kingsley, Alice, see Knewstub, 
Alice Mary 

Kingsley, Miss Mary, 201—202 
Kinnell, Mrs, 12 

Kinsella, Miss Kate, 79 ; see also 
Presbitero, Marquesa di 
Kinsella, Miss Louise, 79, 80 
Kinsella, the Misses, 79 
Kipling, Rudyard, 207 
Kirks tall Abbey, 14 
Knewstub, Miss Alice Mary, 
229—230, 231, 277—278, 280, 
345 ; see also Rothenstein, Mrs 

Knewstub, Miss Christina, 280 
Knewstub, Miss Grace, 348, 354 
Knewstub, Walter John, 229, 

Knight, Buxton J., 19 
Krantz, Eugenie, 127-128, 151, 
164, 264— 265 

La Chaise-Dieu, 360 
‘Lady Jane’, 204—205 
Laforgue, Jules, 239 
La Goulue, 62 
Lamb, Charles, 28, 234 
La M6me Fromage, 63 


Landseer, Sir Edwin, 205 
Lane, John, 125, 126, 131, 136, 

144, i45> *49? 154, *55? 

164, 1 65, 180—183, I ^8, 225, 

Lang, Andrew, io, 339 
Langtry, Mrs, 9, 33, 21 1 
Lankester, E. Ray, 138, 264 
Lanteri, E., 255 
La Puree, Bibi, 92 
La Roche, 279 
La Roche Guyon, 115, 116 
Lavery, John, 325, 335-336 
Leader, W. B., 186 
Leandre, Charles, 60 
Lear, Edward, 146 
Le Brun, C., 42 
Lee, Stirling, 186 
Lefebvre, Jules, 39 
Le Gallienne, Richard, 132, 188, 
207, 237, 283, 286 
Legge, Robin, 296 
Legrand, Louis, 75 
Legros, Alphonse, 20, 21, 22, 23, 
24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 34, 35? 40, 
177, 196? 230? 253-257, 296, 
306, 317-320, 330, 371, 372 
Leighton, Sir Frederick, 18, 

Lely, Sir Peter, 147 
Le Monastier, 358 
Le Pouldu, 99 
Le Puy, 3 56, 357—360, 365 
Leratsche, 218 
Leslie, Fred, 29 
Leyland, F. R., 97 
Liebermann, Max, 53 
Lightcliffe, 8 
Llewellyn, 'William, 76 
Loftus, Cissie, 284, 285 
Lomont, E., 58, 68, 93, 120 
Longhi, Pietro, 223 
Longstaff, J., 57 
Lorimer, J. R., 339 
Louis XIV, 47 
Louis XV, 47 

Ludovici, Anthony, 335-336 

Lunel, F., 75 
Luneville, 148 

Lushingtons, the Vernon, 206 
Lytton, Countess of, 33, 157 
Lytton, the Hon. Neville, 1 57 

MacColl, D. S., 125, 138, 167, 
171-172, i7<S> 19 1 ? *97? 21 1, 
25^? 267, 294, 371 
McEvoy, Ambrose, 333-334, 365, 

McEvoy, Mrs Ambrose, 334 
McGinnes, Miss, 79 ; see also 
Herter, Mrs Albert 
Mackaii, J. W., 340 
Mackmurdo, A. H., 239, 332 
Macmonnies, Frederick, 77, 266 
Macmonnies, Mrs Frederick, 79 
Madrid, 224 

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 228—229 
Maiden, Henry, 4 
Maitland, Paul, 186 
Malham Cove, 14, 15, 281 
Mallarme, Madame, 113 
Mallarme, Stephane, 94, 95, 113, 
121, 123, 138, 139, 164, 265, 313 
Maltby, 335 

Manet, Edouard, 41, 43, 44, 56, 
63, 68, 71, 73, 85, 102, 103, 104, 
nx, 121, 155, 185, 191, 194, 
196, 224, 240, 242, 254, 263, 

Manningham, 12 

Mantegna, Andrea, 22, 23, 185, 

Margoliouth, D. S., 143 
Maris, James, 34, 296 
Maris, Mathew, 34, 198 
Mario tte, 128, 129 
Martineau, Dr James, 27 
Masaccio, 23, 260 
Masefield, John, 373, 374 
Mathews, Elkin, 140, 257 
Mathieson, Percy, 47 
Mathilde, Princesse, 160 
Matisse, Henri, 69 
Mattos, H. Texeira de, 228, 238 



Mauclair, Camille, 121, 229 
Maupassant, Guy de, 115, 122, 
129, 207—208 
Maxse, Admiral, 336 
May, Mrs Phil, 57, 58 
May, Phil, 57, 58, 63, 74 
Meade, Austin, ir, 136, 137 
Meade, Dr, n 
Meissonnier, J. L. E., 71 
Melchers, Gari, 77 
Menpes, Mortimer, 168, 186 
Mentone, 317, 363 
Menzel, Adolf von, 53 
Meredith, George, 32, 103, 133, 
138, 149, 161, 207, 234, 250- 
251, 336 

Meredith, Miss Mariette, 133 ; see 
also Sturgis, Mrs Julian 
Merrill, Stuart, 92, 93, 94, 269- 

Meryon, Charles, 253, 307 
Messell, L. M., 152 
Meudon, 320—322, 370 
Meunier, Constantin, 372 
Meynell, Mrs Alice, 282, 290 
Meynells, the, 282 
Michael Angelo, 25, 63, 254, 

Michelet, J., 369 
Middleham, 281 
Middleton, 281 
Miles, Frank, 133 
Millais, Sir John E., 141, 174, 177, 
3i9 ? 3<*7, 3<S8 

Millet, J. F., 23, 34, 35, 42, 43, 99, 

III, I 98 , 243 

Moliere, 47 

Monet, Claude, 41, 43, 44, 48, 49, 
56, 77, 96, in, 170, 190, 194, 
251, 296, 322 
Montaubon, 105 
Montebello, Marquise de, 107 
Montesquiou, Comte Robert de, 
95, 107, 159 

Monticelli, A., 22 ?, 29 6, 314 
Montigny-sur-Loing, 1 1 5 , 1 1 6, 
1 1 8, 126, 128, 130, 190 

Moore, Albert, 114 
Moore, George, 70, 162, 171, 182, 
197, 202, 213, 231, 232, 238, 
240-243, 262, 283, 334, 337 
Moore, T. Sturge, 174, 175, 

Moreas, Jean, 92, 94 
Moreau, Gustav, 174 
Moret, 128, 130 
Morgan, Mrs de, 167 
Morgan, William de, 167 
Morley, Henry, 26, 27, 28 
Morris, Miss May, 14, 279, 281, 

Morris, Mrs William, 231, 288, 

Morris, William, 14, 31, 33, 72, 
138, 174, 184, 185, 207, 209, 
230, 258, 260, 261, 279, 281, 
287—288, 291, 292, 293 
Morrison, Charles, 329 
Muller, Ivan, 285 
Muller, Max, 143— 144 
Murger, Henri, 61 
Murray, James, 143 
Myers, Mrs Henry, 201 

Netdeship, Miss Ida, see John, 
Mrs Augustus 
Netdeship, J. T., 3 66 
Neuilly, 158 
Nevers, 357 
Newbolt, Henry, 340 
Newman, Cardinal, 238, 242 
Newman, J., 41 
Nice, 362 
Nichol, John, 340 
Nichol, Pringle, 340 
Nichols, John Bowyer, 234 
Nicholson, William, 267, 276, 
277, 301 

Nietzsche, Friedrich, 361 
NorthclifFe, Lord, 300 

Obach, 314 

O’Brien, Dermod, 78, 177, 243 
O’Flaherty, 147 



‘ Old Rusty % see the Rev. W. H. 

O’Leary, John, 201 
Olive, 1 

Orpen, William, 332-335, 343, 

344, 347-349, 353, 35<$, 3<$4~ 

Outamaro, 160 

Palmer, Mrs Walter, 133 
Parry, Sir Hubert, 295—296, 29S 
Parsons, E., 239 
Parton, Ernest, 129 
Pasha, Arabi, Revolt of, see Arabi 
Passy, 78 

Pateman, Robert, 285 
Pater, Miss, 157 

Pater, Walter, 124, 125, 138—139, 
1 53, 1 5 5-^ 57, 232, 242, 294, 3 1 6 
Patmore, Coventry, 244 
Pattes-en-l’air, Nini, 62 
Pattle, Sisters, 98 
Paulus, 65 

Pearson, Lady, 27, 177 
Pearson, Trudie, 177 
Pearson, Sir Weetman, 12 
Pearsons, the Weetman, 27 
Pegram, Fred, 76 
Pellegrini, Carlo, 144, 186, 284 
Pennell, Joseph, 123, 134, 182, 
266-269, 294, 335-336, 337- 
338, 356 
Pheidias, 286 
Philippi, Miss Rosina, 153 
Phillimores, the, 206 
Phillips, Stephen, 237, 283, 330 
Picard, Louis, 59, 88, 96, 97, 261 
Picasso, Pablo, 57 
Piero della Francesca, see Fran- 

Pigott, E. F. S., 183 
Pindar, 342 

Pinero, Arthur W., 211,258, 299- 
300, 301, 335 
Pinwell, G. J., 243 
Pissarro, Camille, 41, 56, 101, 251 

Pissarro, Lucien, 10 1 
Plato, 286 
Playfair, Nigel, 153 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 23, 161 
Point, Armand, 129— 130 
Pompadour, Madame de, 159, 

Pont-Aven, 69, 77 
Portland, Duke of, 255 
Potter, Paul, 25 
Poussin, Nicolas, 22, 63, 254 
Powell, Frederick York, 125, 131, 
137-138, i39> Mi-142, 144, 
148-152, 164, 235-236 
Poynter, Lady, 21 1 
Poynter, Sir Edward, 24, 25 
Presbitero, Marquesa di, 79 
Priestman, Bertram, 21 
Prince Consort, 205 
Prinseps, the, 98 
Prothero, Mrs G. W., 206 
Prout, Samuel, 280 
Pryde, James, 276—277, 301 

Queensberry, Marquis of, 225 
Quilters, the Cuthbert, 07 
Quimper, 77 

Rabelais, 28, 138, 369 
Racine, 47 
Raffaelli, J. F., 159 
Raffolovitch, Andre, 175 
Rapallo, 315 

Raphael, 22, 25, 102, 254 
Rathbones, the, 113 
Rayon d’Or, 62 
Redmond, John, 206 
Reece, Harry, 200 
Reed, Talbot Baines, 9 
Regnier, Henri de, 121 
Rembrandt, 20, 22, 25, 42, 173, 
193, 224, 239, 254, 307, 331, 

333? 334? 345 
Renan, Ary, 84 
Renan, Ernest, 37, 47, 48 
Renoir, Auguste, 44, 69, 71, 104, 
nr, 190 




Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 156 
Rhodes, Cecil, 244, 296 
Rhodes, Miss, 296 
Ribera, J., 223 
Ricci, S., 257 

Richards, Grant, 124, 13 1— 132, 
2 95 5 312, 314 
Richmond, 281 

Richmond, George, 139, 140, 


Richmond, Sir William, 105 
Ricketts, Charles, 133—134, 167, 
170, 173—176, 191, 199, 200— 
201, 202, 226, 235, 239, 243, 
245, 252, 255, 258, 287, 291, 

3* 2 > 33°> 335“33<b 341, 343, 

Rimbaud, Arthur, 127 
‘ Rinky ’ [Rinkhuysen], 155 
Riviere, Henri, 62 
Robbins, Miss Lee, 79 
Robertson, Graham, 244 
Robins, Miss Elizabeth, 201, 21 1 
‘Robinson’, 50 
Robinson, Sir Charles, 240 
Robinson, Crabb, 27, 28 
Rochegrosse, Georges, 40, 41 
Rochester, Earl of, 239 
Rodenbach, Georges, 79, 121,159 
Rodin, Auguste, 66, 77, 106, 125, 
138, 194, 296-297, 319-324, 
330, 336, 344, 370-372 
Rogerson, Mrs, 203 
Roll, 19 1 

Ross, Robert B., 184, 185, 187, 
213, 245, 275, 314, 345, 362- 

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 24, 31, 
42, no, 1 12, 1 13, 162, 173, 174, 
196, 198, 226, 229, 230, 231, 
232, 233, 234, 235, 239, 253, 
260, 286, 288 

Rossetti, William Michael, 230— 
231, 286 

Rothenstein, Albert Daniel, 
[‘Albert’], 332, 334, 346-347, 
356, 364, 365 

Rothenstein, Charles Lambert, 
[‘Charles’], 18, 155, 367 
Rothenstein, Louisa, see Simon, 

Rothenstein, Mrs William, 354— 
355, 364, 371, 372; see also 
Knewstub, Alice Mary 
Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 296 
Roussell, Theodore, 168, 186 
Rowlandson, Thomas, 29 
Rowley, Charles, 260, 261, 

Rowton, Lord, 289 
Royer, Henri, 58, 59, 90, 


Rubempre, Lucien de, 115 
Rubens, Sir Peter Paul, 42, 63, 
I 93? 334 

Ruebell, Miss, 81, 82, 86 
Ruel, Durand, see Durand-Ruel 
Riigen, 51, 54 
Runciman, J. F., 21 1 
Ruskin, John, 7, 114, 140, 141, 
171, 286-287, 367, 368 
Ruskin, Mrs, 141, 367 
Russell, the Hon. Claud, 137 
Russell, the Hon. Rollo, 203 
Russell, Walter W., 76, 186 
Rutland, Violet Duchess of, 296, 

Rylands, John, 352 
Rysselbergh, van, 326 

Sade, Marquis de, 244 
St Cyres, Viscount, 144 
Saint-Victor, Paul de, 160 
Salaman, Michel, 356-357, 360- 
361, 365 
Sale, 349 
Salford, 15 1 
Salis, Rudolph, 61 
Salle, 1 17 

Sallitt, W. Woodford, 12, 281 
Saltaire, 9, 15, 18 
Samboume, Linley, 17 
Sandys, Frederick, 259 
Sargent, Adeline, 29 


Sargent, John Singer, 23, 95, 107, 
167, 171, 172, 173, 186, 188, 
190-197, 224, 243-244, 274, 
286, 304, 305, 321, 322, 333, 

334? 3<57, 37i 
Saskia, 161 

Savage, Reginald, 176, 330 
Schiller, J. C. F., 355 
Schlittgen, H., 75 
Scholderer, Otto, 169, 340 
Schuster, Claud, 166 
Schwob, Marcel, 86, 93, 122 
Scott, Clement, 290 
Scott, C. P., 349—350 
Scott, Sir Walter, 9 
Scott, Walter, 241 
Sebastian, 315 
Senior, Mrs, 33 
Seton, Malcolm, 147 
Seurat, G. P., 69, 72, 326 
Seville, 223 

Shakespeare, 8, 67,88,277,328,368 
Shannon, Charles Hazelwood, 
I 33 -I 34 , 167, 170, 173-176, 
191, 198, 199, 200-201, 212, 
226, 228, 235, 239, 243, 255, 
258, 286, 287, 288, 291, 308, 
312, 333, 335-336,341,344, 373 
Shaw, G. Bernard, 138, 179, 180, 
208—211, 213, 229—230, 250, 
276, 282, 283—284, 287, 298 
Shaw-Stewart, Lady Alice, 354 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 136, 235, 

Sherard, Robert Harborough, 86, 

Shields, Frederick, 259, 260 
Shipley, Arthur, 46, 47 
Shipley Valley, 15 
Short, Frank, 41 
Shrimpton, 145 

Sichel, Ernest, 19, 20, 21, 26, 34 

Sichel, Victor, 20 

Sickert, Bernard, 339 

Sickert, Leonard, 339 

Sickert, Mrs, 339 

Sickert, Oswald, 339 

Sickert, Oswald (Sickertpere),339 
Sickert, Robert, 339, 343 
Sickert, Walter Richard, 31, 106, 
123, 167-170, 171, 172, 174, 
177, 178, 184, 190, 191, 207, 
209, 212, 237, 242, 243, 245, 
251, 267, 270, 275, 300, 304, 
33 2 > 335? 337-338> 339j 340- 
34 2 > 343 5 346 
Sid-bu-Mereisch, 217 
Siddall, Miss Elizabeth, no, 231 
Sidgwick, Arthur, 143 
Signac, Paul, 326 
Signorelli, Lucca, 254 
Simon, John, 146 
Simon, Louis, 349 
Simon, Louisa, 349 
Simpson, William, 351, 352 
Sivry, Charles de, 61 
Slinger, Mr, 25 

Smith, Miss Aiys Pearsall, 203 
Smith, F. E., 146 
Smith, H. Llewellyn, 29 
Smith, Logan Pearsall, 80, 123, 

Smith, Mrs Pearsall, 203 
Smithers, Leonard, 184, 244-245, 
246, 247, 248, 250 
Solomon, 286 

Solomon, Simeon, 155, 157 
Solomon, Solomon J., 35, 41 
Somerset, Lady Henry, 203 
Sowerby Bridge, 8 
Sparling, H. H., 279 
Spong, Miss Hilda, 335 
Stanford, Charles Villiers, 47 
Stanley, H. M., 10 
Stannards, the, 308—309 
Stanway, 258 
Stchoukine, 341 
Stead, W. T., 124, 132 
Steele, Robert, 287? 288 
Steer, Philip Wilson, 31, 166, 167, 
170-172, 177? *86, 190, 19 1, 
197, 207, 209, 212, 240, 241, 
242-243, 267, 270, 332, 334, 
337> 33 8 



Index Whistler, J. McNeill ( continued l) 

171, 178, 186, 190, 191, 194, 

206, 207, 209, 226, 231, 232, 

233, 240, 254, 259, 261, 263, 

266-269, 270-271, 277, 285, 

286, 296, 306, 307, 308, 318, 

332 , 333 > 335 - 33 ^ 337 - 338 ? 


Whistler, Mrs, 83, 100, 109, 113- 

White, Gleeson, 134, 226 
Whitman, Walt, 78 
Wilde, Cyril, 133 
Wilde, Mrs, 133, 166 
Wilde, Oscar, 32, 74, 81, 85, 86- 
90, 92-94, 95, 101, hi, 124, 
126, 132-133, 136, 137, 139, 

146, 162, 166, 167, 168, 173, 

174, 179, 180, 183-184, 187, 

188, 198, 207, 213, 225, 232, 

238, 244, 245, 275, 286, 300, 

308-316, 329, 348, 358, 361- 

Wilde, Vyvyan, 133 
Wilhelm I, Kaiser, 11, 51, 53 
Wilhelm II, Kaiser, 52 
Wilkinson, H. Spenser, 352 
Wilkinson, T. R., 352 
Willard, Miss, 203 
Willette, A. L., 61, 66 
William the Conqueror, 260 

Williams, Basil, 166 
Windus, W. L., 243 
Winter, John Strange, 311 
Wisselingh, E. J. van, 198 
Wood, H. Derwent, 177 
Woods, Rev. Henry M., 152 
Woods, Mrs Margaret L., 82, 13 1, 
152, 204, 21 1 
Woodville, R. Caton, 94 
Woolf, Mrs Virginia, 98 ; see also 
Stephen, Miss Virginia 
Wordsworth, William, 14, 28 
Worth, Jean, 195 
Wycherley, William, 199 
Wyndham, George, 295, 296 

Xanrof, A., 61, 65, 66, 96 

Yeats, W. B., 132, 282-283, 329, 
330, 373 

Young, Dalhousie, 314 
Yport, 347, 348 

Zangwill, I., 204, 21 1 
Zidler, 62 

Zola, fimile, 28, 47, 48, 56, 122, 
159, 160, 162-163, 275, 291- 

Zorn, Anders, 78 
Zorn, Madame, 78 
Zuloaga, Ignacio, 44